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Alex Matthews

Alex MatthewsAlex Matthews

Honours student

Topic: Genetic and morphological variation in Eucalyptus urnigera

University of Tasmania


Eucalyptus urnigera is a Tasmanian endemic eucalypt in the alpine white gum complex.  While the main core of the species range in south-eastern Tasmania is well protected, there are many outlying populations of the species which appear to be morphologically deviant from core populations and their genetic affinities are not well understood.  Many of these outlying populations occur in state forest and some are in regions of forestry activity.

I will examine the genetic and morphological variation between E. urnigera populations in Tasmania, and how this fits into the broader evolutionary and ecological context of the alpine white gums, especially E. gunnii, which co-occurs with E. urnigera in some areas and with which it shares some morphological affinities.

This project will allow me to assess whether further taxonomic treatment of the species is required and the conservation significance of the outlying E. urnigera populations. It will clarify the distribution of the species and provide information for the management of the genetic resource. This research will contribute to the CRC’s Biodiversity Sub-projects 4.2.5 and 4.2.7.

My supervisors are Dr Robert Wiltshire, Professor Brad Potts and Associate Professor René Vaillancourt (School of Plant Science, University of Tasmania).