Case study: Climate change impacts on seed germination of threatened plants. National Parks Conservation Trust.

The National Parks Conservation Trust is working to protect Australia’s iconic national parks and gardens. Climate change is impacting plants in these places and our partners are wanting to understand what this means for seed germination in the future.

One of the main drivers of seed germination is temperature. To test the response of germination to changing temperature, partners wanted to efficiently trial up to 196 different temperature scenarios. This was not possible with traditional germination chambers.

“The Grant Instruments gradient plates have been a game changer, allowing our partners to test multiple fine-scale effects of temperature using a single piece of equipment” said Dr Judy West, Science Trustee.

Partners have already used the new gradient plate to test the germination of endemic Australian alpine plants threatened by changing temperature. Results tell us they have a narrow and relatively cool temperature niche for germination, indicating that their recruitment may be reduced under warmer conditions.

The new equipment enabled testing of fine-scale temperature gradients using far fewer seeds than would have been needed with other equipment. This is critical when working with threatened species. The new gradient plates are also being used to train students in seed ecology, and to connect and collaborate with other users of Grant Instruments temperature gradient plates.

Explore how our Gradient plate can support your research here.