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Reintroduction Research on Penguin Island

Penguin Island is a small island off the coast of Perth in Western Australia and part of the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park. It is the site of a new reintroduction research project into Australian Hollyhock (Malva preissiana), run by the Department of Parks and Wildlife and Murdoch University. Once an important part of the island’s vegetation, Hollyhock is now extinct there. This project is aiming to evaluate establishment techniques for the reintroduction of Hollyhock to the island. Hollyhock seeds from the nearby Carnac Island, stored at the Threatened Flora Seed Centre, were sown around old pelican nests where the plants thrive on the deposited guano. In total, almost 1000 seeds were sown in strategic locations and will be put through different conditions during the 12 months of the trial. Specifically, the research is looking at whether nicking the seeds before direct sewing improves germination rates, and whether follow-up weed control will improve the plants’ establishment during their first year of development. This reintroduction project is part of a larger restoration program for the island.

Malva preissiana (Photo: Kate Brown, DPaW)

Direct seeding Malva preissiana on Penguin Island (Photo: Kate Brown, DPaW)

Pelicans on Penguin Island (Photo: Brian Jenkins)