An endangered Feather Flower, unique to this region, has been the focus of scientific investigations which potentially provide an important link in ensuring its on-going survival. The Latin name for Feather Flowers is Verticordia, meaning ‘Turner of hearts’ referring to their exquisite beauty.
The research, a collaborative project between the University of Western Australia (Albany) and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, is designed to identify the previously unknown pollinators of the rare Feather Flower, a native species found only in a tiny area of the Fitzgerald River National Park.
“Because of the amazing diversity in the region, we have big gaps in our knowledge,” said Dr Barrett from DCBA. “In particular, we are keen to discover the pollinators, which is vital for understanding the reproductive biology of these plants.”
Endeavouring to build the knowledge base of the Feather Flower, UWA student Susie Cramp spent five days in the field observing and photographing the plants using both still and time lapse photography.
According to Ms Cramp, correctly identifying the pollinators of these unique flowers will help ensure its survival.
“Pollinators, such as those identified in the photographs, will to conserve this unique and endangered flower because pollinators are crucial to the survival of plants,” she said.
Ms Cramp is one of two UWA Crawley students currently undertaking projects in Albany as part of an innovative environmental research unit developed by Dr Harriet Patterson form UWA Albany.
Under the mentorship of Dr Paterson and acknowledged experts in their fields, students are able to investigate an environmental conservation question to increase the current scientific knowledge base.
“It is such a great unit,” Ms Cramp said. “Not only did I have heaps of fun out in the field, but it makes research so much more accessible and gives students like us the chance to really contribute towards conservation efforts.”
Paula Phillips (UWA Albany Centre Manager) (+61 8) 9842 0810