Megan HirstMegan Hirst is a PhD student in the Genetics Department of the University of Melbourne. Her supervisors are Prof. Ary Hoffman, Dr. Adam Miller and Mr. Neville Walsh.
Megan is interested in the iconic daisy genus Brachyscome, which comprises >80 native species from a range of habitats including distinctive bioregions such as the  Australian Alps and encompassing highly restricted species as well as more widespread relatives. This study will investigate adaptability in the Brachyscomes from two main perspectives. Firstly, Megan shall develop a detailed phylogeny of the group to determine evolutionary relationships at the molecular (DNA) and morphological level. This phylogeny will be linked to an assessment of the ecology of the different Brachyscome lineages: are threatened species related, or are they interlinked with more resilient widespread species? Second, Megan shall examine the resistance of key life stages to thermal and other climatic stresses. This will indicate the level of resilience to climate change and also the extent species are growing in conditions close to their environmental limits.
Megan’s background is in ex situ seed conservation having worked in the Victorian Conservation Seedbank at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne since the projects’ inception in 2005.

For more information contact Megan at Megan.Hirst@rbg.vic.gov.au.