Bachelor of Conservation Biology (Honours) (Deans Scholar)
School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences
Van Der Merwe, Merize, The influence of cone age and urbanisation on the diversity and community composition of seed fungal endophytes within native Australian Banksia ericifolia L.f. subsp. ericifolia, Bachelor of Conservation Biology (Honours) (Deans Scholar), School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences, University of Wollongong, 2020.
Biodiversity loss worldwide is occurring at an alarming rate due to the continual and increasing influence of anthropogenic disturbances. Understanding how species shift and adapt in these changing urbanised environments while also changing over time is extremely important when considering future ex-situ restoration and renewal practices. Seed fungal endophytes (SFE) comprise a large hidden component of ecosystem diversity and provide plants with a variety of benefits, although major knowledge gaps exist regarding the influence on SFE movement and diversity within both the natural and urbanised environments. Using culturing techniques, morphological analyses and Sanger sequencing, I identified the culturable SFE community of the common native Banksia ericifolia (B. ericifolia) at two urban and two natural sites in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. I investigated the influence of both spatial and temporal factors on the diversity and composition of these SFE communities. Between old and young seed, 26 Operational Taxonomic Units were isolated, with older seeds containing significantly more isolates and fungal species. The study also found similar fungal communities within young seeds at sites, which over time, diversify and become distinct and unique to each site. Between urban and natural sites, the overall SFE community composition did not change, although species richness and diversity were greatest at the urban sites. My results differed from other studies, highlighting the need for more studies involving the influence of urbanisation on microbial diversity, while also examining new technologies and tools which can provide more accurate representations of the communities present. Understanding the factors that influence seed fungal endophytes community movement is critical in maintaining their biodiversity as they are crucial to the functioning of ecosystems.
FoR codes (2008)
050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.