Learn how we make decisions, facilitate transparency, and ensure we meet our goals.

Governing Council

The Australian Seed Bank Partnership is governed by the Council of Heads of Australian Botanic Gardens Incorporated (CHABG), a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting the protection, conservation and enhancement of Australian plants and their ecosystems.

CHABG’s management committee is comprised of senior executives from Australia’s capital city botanic gardens. CHABG works with Australian botanic gardens and other institutions to support and carry out research, collaborate with integrated conservation management, promote knowledge sharing and education about plants and plant communities and provide a forum to promote the diversity of work undertaken by botanic gardens. 

The Australian Seed Bank Partnership is the principal conservation program of CHABG, who guide the strategic direction of the Partnership’s work to ensure it addresses national plant conservation priorities and contributes to international conservation targets.

ASBP Secretariat

The secretariat undertakes tasks to facilitate the functioning of the partnership. This includes:

  1. Managing and coordinating various projects and initiatives related to seed banking and conservation.
  2. Facilitating communication among partner organizations, stakeholders, and the public. 
  3. Providing administrative support for the partnership, including record-keeping, documentation, and logistical arrangements for events or activities.
  4. Fostering collaboration among partner institutions and ensuring that the goals and objectives of the partnership are being met.
  5. Managing resources, including financial resources and data, to support the partnership’s activities.
  6. Assisting in the development and implementation of strategic plans to guide the partnership’s growth and impact.
Dr Kathryn Eyles - National Coordinator​
Mr Bradley Desmond - Assistant Coordinator​

National Steering Committee

The national steering committee for the Australian Seed Bank Partnership brings together a team of leading experts from the members of the Partnership who help deliver real plant conservation outcomes.  The National Steering Committee is responsible for:

  1. providing the strategic direction for the ASBP program and oversee the implementation of its Strategic Plan, including regular monitoring and evaluation.
  2. reviewing and approving project scopes and applications.
  3. providing information and recommendations on relevant national seed banking issues to CHABG.
  4. establishing expert working groups, when required, to address specific tasks as directed by CHABG and/or the committee.

The current National Steering Committee memership is outlined below.

Commonwealth and Australian Capital Territory
Mr Tom North – National Seed Bank, Australian National Botanic Gardens, Parks Australia

Tom is the Curator at the National Seed Bank. He has been involved in seed banking with both the horticultural and native revegetation industries for the past 25 years. His particular interests include the use of seed banks as a tool for better ex situ conservation of native species and to facilitate restoration and recovery programs across broad landscapes.

Dr Gemma Hoyle – National Seed Bank, Australian National Botanic Gardens, Parks Australia

Gemma Hoyle is a seed scientist at the National Seed Bank in the Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra. Her research focuses on seed germination, dormancy and longevity to improve the conservation and management of Australia’s native flora. Gemma has been researching seeds for over 16 years and started work at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew in the UK. She is currently investigating the germination strategies of sub-alpine species severely impacted by the 2019-2020 bushfires.

Photo of Dr Gemma Hoyle
New South Wales
Dr Nathan Emery – The Australian PlantBank, The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan

Nathan Emery is the Manager Seedbank and Conservation Collections at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, where he oversees the NSW seed banking program that includes the ongoing development and curation of the Seedbank collection. Nathan has worked at the Australian Botanic Garden since 2015 and has led several conservation translocation projects of threatened plants as well as undertaking seed biology research on threatened species and ecological communities in NSW. His interests include improving seed strategies to support representative collections for ex situ seedbanking and end-use, and researching climate effects on germination traits.

Photo of Dr Nathan Emery
South Australia
Mr Jerry Smith – Senior Scientific Officer, Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium, South Australia

Jerry joined the South Australian Seed Conservation Centre in 2023 after 5 years as the Threatened Flora Ecologist for Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges where he worked on projects improving the trajectory of nationally listed species, many endemic to the Mount Lofty Ranges.  In this role he worked with the seed centre to deliver seed banking and in-vitro symbiotic germination of endemic orchid species for translocation to improve wild population numbers.  Prior to this Jerry was the Biodiversity officer at the City of Marion in urban Adelaide working to restore urban habitats and a project officer with the Urban Forest Million Trees project undertaking restoration on peri-urban sites around Adelaide.

Photo of Mr Jerry Smith
Mr James Wood – Tasmanian Seed Conservation Centre, Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens

James Wood is the seed bank manager of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and has worked in and around seed banking for over 20 years. He took on his current post in December 2005 after working at RBG, Kew’s Seed Conservation Department for seven years. Prior to that, he held a horticultural support post for the Kew seed bank for six years. His first experience of seed science was as a student when he spent his industrial placement year working in research at the Kew seed bank. Running and overseeing seed bank germination tests for over 14 years, James has a broad background and interest in the difficulties of wild species germination. He also has an interest in the effective recording and analysis of this data.

Dr Alastair Robinson — Manager Biodiversity Services, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

Alastair is a botanist at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria (RBGV), where he manages the Victorian Conservation Seedbank, the plant identification and horticultural botany services, the online plant identification portals VicFlora and HortFlora, the Library and Artwork components of Victoria’s State Botanical Collection, and production of the in-house botanical journal Muelleria. Originally from Malaysia, Alastair joined RBGV in 2018 as Manager Biodiversity Services, and his main research focus is on tropical Asian montane flora, with a particular interest in terrestrial and epiphytic orchids and ultramafic specialists, and also of carnivorous plant genera worldwide, particularly Nepenthes and Drosera.

Dr Rebecca Miller – Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

Bec joined the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria (RBGV) as a Research Scientist in seed science in 2020 after 15 years of post-doctoral research and teaching experience at Australian universities on topics spanning aspects of plant physiology, biochemistry, ecology, plant development and propagation. She leads research into germination requirements and dormancy alleviation, seed storage and longevity of Victorian Conservation Seedbank collections, and with the recent establishment of a dedicated conservation cryobank at RBGV, will also contribute to research on the propagation and banking of ferns and lycophytes.

Dr Alastair Robinson
Rebecca Miller
Western Australia
Dr David Merritt – Principal Research Scientist, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Kings Park and Botanic Garden.

David Merritt is a seed scientist at Kings Park and Botanic Garden, where he manages research programs on fundamental and applied aspects of the biology, physiology, and ecology of seeds. His research focusses on supporting the conservation of plant biodiversity through seed banking, and on developing techniques for the propagation and use of seeds for ecological restoration and threatened species translocations.

Dr Andrew Crawford – Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions

Andrew Crawford is the manager of the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions’ Western Australian Seed Centre (WASC) which is housed in the Keiran McNamara Conservation Science Centre in Western Australia. Andrew has been collecting native seeds for over 30 years and started seed conservation work at the WASC in 2001. Andrew’s work covers all aspects of the seed conservation process; from seed collection and processing, to seed storage and testing, generating plants for translocations, as well as seed focused research aiding in threatened species management and recovery.

Sue McDougall – Director of the Western Australian Botanic Garden

Sue McDougall took up the role of Director of the WA Botanic Garden in late 2021. Sue has dedicated her life to inspiring gardeners on the benefits of green spaces. She grew up in marginal farming land in SW Western Australia and developed a passion for WA flora. Since purchasing a disused nursery when she was 19, Sue has gone on to work in horticulture production, landscape planning and design and broadcasting for more than 35 years.

Dr David Merritt
Dr Andrew Crawford.
Sue McDougaLL
United Kingdom
Dr Aisyah Faruk – Conservation Partnership Coordinator (Europe and Oceania), Millennium Seed Bank, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK

Aisyah is the Conservation Partnerships Coordinator for Europe and Oceania at the Millennium Seed Bank at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Aisyah started at the Millennium Seed Bank as the coordinator for partnerships in the Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan) and the Arabian Peninsula regions. At the end of January 2020, Aisyah took over from our previous Australian coordinator, Dr Elinor Breman, who now overseas the MSB’s global seed conservation program. Aisyah coordinates projects throughout Australia, the Pacific, Europe and the Middle East.

Dr Aisyah Faruk