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Mr Justin Bloomfield

profile_bloomfield_thumbMr Justin Bloomfield
Honours student - COMPLETED

Topic: genetic variation of Eucalyptus obliqua in Tasmania

University of Tasmania

Eucalyptus obliqua (stringy bark) is an ash species closely related to Eucalyptus delegatensis (alpine ash) and Eucalyptus regnans (swamp gum or mountain ash). Eucalyptus obliqua covers broad geographical and ecological ranges throughout south eastern Australia, including parts of Queensland and South Australia.

In Tasmania E. obliqua is an important component of Forestry Tasmania’s native forest harvesting program. Generally seed is collected on site prior to harvesting, and clearfelled areas are resown with the local seed.  However, when onsite seed is not available, seed is imported from other sites, following guidelines that relate to proximity, altitude and rainfall.

My project aimed to assess the genetic robustness of Forestry Tasmania’s seed zones and seed transfer guidelines for E. obliqua.  I used DNA microsatellite analysis to measure local genetic differentiation of E. obliqua across local steep ecological gradients, and broad scale genetic differentiation across Tasmania.  My results will be used to inform and reinforce future seed transfer guidelines for E. obliqua.

I first studied eucalypt genetics when I did a third year summer research project in the School of Plant Science (University of Tasmania) on chloroplast DNA haplotypes of Eucalyptus globulus in Victoria and New South Wales. I was a member of the Eucalypt Genetics Group at the School of Plant Science, University of Tasmania, as an Honours student in Biotechnology.

My supervisors were Associate Professor René Vaillancourt, Professor Brad Potts and Dr Dorothy Steane (School of Plant Science, University of Tasmania).  I also interacted with CRC student Paul Nevill and resarcher Peter Ades, both of the University of Melbourne, who study similar issues in E. regnans; as well as PhD student and researcher Mark Neyland of Forestry Tasmania.

This project was part of the CRC for Forestry Biodiversity Project (4.2), subproject 4.2.7 (management of genetic resources).

To browse other scholarships available in the Biodiversity project, click here.