Botany team bonds at Gidgegannup

Come March, the 2023 field season for the Biologic botany team begins in earnest. In preparation, twelve of our scientists recently spent two days at Biologic’s Biodiverse Carbon Project at Gidgegannup, undertaking training and getting to know each other a little better before the long hot days of field work ahead. The work involved establishing permanent monitoring sites across the property in both the remnant bushland and adjacent cleared areas. These will form the basis of ongoing biodiversity surveys that track changes in flora, fauna and the soil microbiome over time. This is an important step towards future Natural Capital Accounting on the Gidgegannup property as well as providing baseline data for use in the developing biodiversity certificate market.

But the main purpose of the time at Gidgegannup was ‘to take a break from the daily grind, spend some quality time together as a team, talk, laugh and get to know each other a little better’, says Clinton van den Bergh , manager of the botany team at Biologic.
Just a week later, eight botanists left to spend eight days undertaking a flora survey in the Robe valley under the challenging conditions of the Pilbara, with temperatures regularly exceeding 40 °C.

The time at Gidgegannup gave new staff and two undergraduate interns from the University of Western Australia the opportunity to practice collecting and recording data in line with Biologic’s protocols. Ryonen Butcher, Biologic’s Principal Botanist and Taxonomist, and an expert plant taxonomist, shared her extensive knowledge of the Western Australian flora, explaining some of the key features to look for when seeking to determine a plant’s identity. She also showed the botany team how to collect and press plant specimens following the Western Australian Herbarium’s guidelines, so that specimens collected during the season’s field work are able to be formally lodged with the herbarium where appropriate.

The team also checked in on the progress of the seedlings planted and seeded across cleared areas of the block as part of the Biodiverse Carbon Project.

Most of the team camped out for the night, sharing a drink and their thoughts under the stars.