Australasian Seed Science Conference 2021

Linking seeds with needs;
securing our future in a changing world

About the conference

From the 6–10th September 2021, the Australian Seed Bank Partnership presented the 2021 Australasian Seed Science Conference. Opened by Costa Georgiadis, the conference brought together 425 delegates from 34 countries. Hosted virtually by the Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG), this global event included five days of plenary, workshops and social events. Conference recordings are available for registered delegates, or for purchase below.

The Partnership would like to thank the Conference sponsors, partners, organisers and attendees who made this event possible. The next conference will be hosted by the Australian Grains Genebank in Horsham, Victoria in 2025 and we look forward to welcoming delegates and sponsors to this hybrid event.

Conference Plenary

The conference plenary boasted seven Keynote speakers, 61 presentations and 17 Posters. These covered topics under the conferences four themes:

  1. Seed biology and evolutionary ecology – Unlocking the challenges of germination, dormancy and seed ecology in a changing world.
  2. Seed sourcing and end-use – Considering genetic diversity, restoration and translocations as well as sector specific approaches to seed conservation and use.
  3. Seed and gene bank management – The ins and outs of managing ex situ seed banks and gene banks and the methods for maximising seed quality and longevity.
  4. Seeds in culture and society – Sharing stories and learning about historical, socio-cultural, and legal practices of seed conservation, use, exchange, and repatriation, including collaborations between traditional use, community, and ex situ seed banks and gene banks.

Conference Workshops

  • Workshop 1, Seed banking 101 – Seed scientists from Australian institutions and the Millennium Seed Bank instructed delegates in the basics of establishing and managing seed and gene banking programs, including identifying target species, planning and conducting field work, and implementing best-practice approaches and techniques. The workshop was a mixture of pre-recorded lectures, live Q&As and group sessions.
  • Workshop 2, Fenner Conference on the Environment 2021: Exceptional times, exceptional plants  Funded by a grant from the Australian Academy of Science, this workshop focused on the identification and conservation of plant species that are difficult to bank using conventional techniques. Recordings from this workshop are available to watch for free on the ANPC’s YouTube Channel.
  • Workshop 3, Analysing seed data with R – This workshop outlined the fundamentals of designing and analysing seed biology and ecology studies. The participants worked through a range of standard and innovative approaches for robust statistical analysis of field and experimental data using the R and Rstudio software. 

Social Events

The conference also held two social events for delegates to meet virtually and share ideas, focusing on the importance of seed science to the future of plant conservation and food security. These included an Early to Middle Career Researcher Networking Event (hosted by Dr Suz Everingham) and Trivia Night (hosted by Nathan Emery).

Conference Materials

Conference recordings are now available for free using the button above. However if you would like to make a donation in recognition of the substantial effort of presenters, you can do so through PayPal. Your donation will help fund future seed conservation projects. 

Germplasm Guidelines launched

During the conference, Professor Tim Entwisle launched the 3rd edition of the Plant Germplasm Conservation in Australia guidelines. The Germplasm Guidelines are a joint publication of the Australian Network for Plant Conservation and the Australian Seed Bank Partnership, funded by the Ian Potter Foundation.

The guidelines showcase the latest techniques, literature and procedures for optimising germplasm storage and use. They are intended for conservation agencies, scientists, seed banks, nurseries and those interested in applied plant biology. 

Click the button to be taken to the ANPC’s website where you can download a free digital copy of the guidelines, and register your interest to purchase a hard copy.  Watch the guidelines launch video below to learn more about why strategies for managing and utilising ex situ collections are needed.

Conference committees

We would like to thank the following members of the conference committees for their invaluable contribution.

Organising Committee

  • Dr Sally Norton (Chair)
  • Dr Kamalesh Adhikari
  • Dr Andrew Crawford
  • Mr Bradley Desmond
  • Dr Suz Everingham
  • Dr Jenny Guerin
  • Dr Lydia Guja
  • Dr Gemma Hoyle
  • Ms Jo Lynch
  • Dr Cath Offord
  • Mr Tom North
  • Ms Millie Stevens
  • Dr Katherine Whitehouse
  • Mr Damian Wrigley

Scientific Committee

  • Dr Cath Offord (Chair)
  • Dr Kamalesh Adhikari
  • Dr Jose Barrero
  • Mr Bradley Desmond
  • Dr Suz Everingham
  • Dr Lydia Guja
  • Dr David Merritt
  • Dr Adrienne Nicotra
  • Dr Sally Norton
  • Dr Mark Ooi
  • Dr Katherine Whitehouse
  • Mr Damian Wrigley

Student and Early Career Researcher awards

  • Best poster: Amy Buckner, “Germination and emergence of Australian alpine seeds in response to fire cues”
  • Best 3 mins Oral: Ella Pouton, “Soil seedbank diversity under variation in fire regimes in a temperate heathland”
  • Best 8 mins Oral: Suz Everingham, “Time travelling seeds reveal seed trait and plant responses to climate change”


The ASSC Organising Committee would like to thank the following sponsors and partners for their support

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