Megan Hirst

Megan Hirst, Past PhD student and Research Assistant
Email-UoM Email-RBGV

Megan is based mainly in the National Herbarium building of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne and during semester at the Burnley Campus of Melbourne University

Meg obtained a Bachelor of Applied Science-Horticulture at Burnley College whilst working on rare and threatened plants at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne (RBG) under various roles (nursery technician, seed bank officer, research assistant). Meg successfully undertook an Honours year with Forest and Ecosystem Sciences under the supervision of Craig Nitschke and continued working with rare flora but with a stronger emphasis on seed conservation (working with the Victorian Conservation Seedbank, RBG). Meg undertook a PhD in ecology and evolution under the supervision of Ary Hoffmann, Neville Walsh and Philippa Griffin, and successfully completed her studies in 2017. Meg’s thesis investigated plant adaptation in a group of native Australasian daisies from the genus Brachyscome. She transplanted seeds and seedlings across different environments and in artificially heated plots to test for adaptation to local and future conditions.

Meg currently works in the Victorian Conservation Seedbank, on the Fungal Barcode Project based at the RBG and as a sessional tutor in plant morphology/identification skills at the University of Melbourne (Burnley campus). Meg is based mainly in the National Herbarium building of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, and during semester at the UniMelb Burnley Campus.

Current Projects:

Testing the horticultural potential of rare and threatened Australian plants


Hirst, M.J. (2017). Plant evaluation and selection for conservation horticulture: improving the odds. The Botanic Garden 49, 39 -40.

Hirst, M. J., Griffin, P. C., Sexton, J. P. and Hoffmann, A. A. (2017), Testing the niche-breadth–range-size hypothesis: habitat specialization vs. performance in Australian alpine daisies. Ecology 98, 2708 – 2724

Messina, A., Hirst, M.J., Walsh, N.G. (2017) Getting by with a little help from my friends. Samara: The International Newsletter of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership. Issue 30. 13

Hirst, M. J., Sexton, J. P., and Hoffmann, A. A. (2016) Extensive variation, but not local adaptation in an Australian alpine daisy. Ecology and Evolution 6, 5459 – 5472

Hirst, M.J. (2013). A global message from an old bird. The Botanic Garden 37, 9–10.

Slatyer, R.A., Hirst, M. and J.P. Sexton. (2013). Niche breadth predicts geographic range size: a general ecological pattern. Ecology Letters. doi:10.111/ele.12140.

Hirst, M.J. (2013). A phylogenetic and morphological approach in a key Australian plant genus, BrachyscomeAustralasian Plant Conservation 21, 24–26.

Hirst, M.J. (2012). Native daisies add versatility. Australian Horticulture 109, 8.

Current awards:

2018 – 2019: Helen McLellan Research Grant, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria:

2018 – 2019: Australian Flora Foundation Research Grant

2018: Botanic Gardens of Australia and New Zealand Professional Development Award.