anatomy Chenopodiaceae cytology DNA molecular phylogeny morphology Salicornioideae Samphires systematics taxonomy Tecticornia

Email Kelly

+61 8 9219 9129

+61 8 9334 0327
Street Address
17 Dick Perry Avenue, Technology Park, Western Precinct, Kensington WA 6151, Australia
Postal Address
Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre WA 6983, Australia


Kelly Shepherd is a Senior Research Scientist based at the Western Australian Herbarium. She is a taxonomist currently working on a range of plant groups in Western Australia, focusing on naming and describing new species of conservation concern. Her primary research interests include the ‘salt-loving’ samphires in the subfamily Salicornioideae (Chenopodiaceae), providing expert taxonomic identification of species within the genera Salicornia (syn. Sarcocornia) and Tecticornia (syn. Halosarcia, Sclerostegia, Pachycornia and Tegicornia). Kelly is also undertaking a large molecular phylogenetic study of the 'fan-flower' family Goodeniaceae in collaboration with researchers in the United States and is revising the genera Lasiopetalum and Thomasia (Malvaceae). She is the Managing Editor and Desktopping Editor for Nuytsia — Western Australia's Journal of Systematic Botany

Kelly is an 'authorised person' under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and an ‘approved botanist’ within the meaning of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1981. This role involves the forensic examination of plants for a variety of purposes, including the identification of Cannabis on behalf of the WA Police.



  • Plant taxonomy, systematics, phylogenetics, morphology, cytology and anatomy.
  • Identification of Australian species of Sarcocornia and Tecticornia

Brief CV


Doctor of Philosophy, School of Plant Biology, The University of Western Australia, 2005.
Thesis title: A Systematic Analysis of the Australian Salicornioideae (Chenopodiaceae).

Bachelor or Science (Botany/Zoology) Honours. The University of Western Australia, 1992.
Thesis title: Faecal Analysis of Mammalian Herbivores in the Perup Forest, Western Australia.


Senior Research Scientist Western Australian Herbarium, Sep 2009 – to date.

Project: Taxonomic resolution and description of new plant species in Western Australia.

Research Scientist Western Australian Herbarium, Aug 2006 – Aug 2009.

Project ‘Saving our Species’ Biodiversity Conservation Initiative Resolution and description of new plant species in the Yilgarn ironstone and Ravensthorpe Range areas subject to mining interest.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow UK Millennium Seed Bank (based at Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority), Jan 2006 – Aug 2006.
Project: Seed dormancy research focusing on Australian species with undifferentiated embryos.

Research Scientist The University of Western Australia and Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, Aug 2004 – Dec 2005.
Project: A molecular phylogenetic analysis of the Goodeniaceae, with particular focus on Scaevola and Lechenaultia.


Taxonomic resolution and description of new plant species, particularly from areas subject to mining in Western Australia.

Systematics of the genus Tecticornia and the family Goodeniaceae.

Publications (26)

Additional Publications (26)
“In press” and draft publications, or those published while employed elsewhere.


Shepherd K.A. (2012–13). Forensic Botany. WA Police Forensic Science Course, WA Police Forensic Training and Development Unit, Midland, Perth.


Shepherd K.A. (2011). Drugs and Thugs: Forensic Botany in WA. Flora Conservation and Herbarium Program: Science Division, DEC, 4 May, Kensington.


Shepherd K.A. (2010). From the farmyard to forensics – adventures of a botanist. Invited speaker for the Wheatbelt Women’s Forum, 10 August, Bruce Rock.


Malik A.I., English J.P., Shepherd K.A., Islam A.K.M.R. & Colmer T.D. (2009). Tolerance of combined salinity and O2 deficiency in Hordeum marinum accessions from the grain-belt of Western Australia. (Abstract 1277). The Proceedings of the International Plant Nutrition Colloquium XVI. University of California, Davis.


Lander N.S. & Shepherd K.A. (2008–9) Collecting Botanical Evidence. Human Remains Recovery Course. Crime Scene Unit – Forensic Division, WA Police, Midland.

Shepherd K.A. (2008) Salt loving samphires. DEC Science Division Biennial Meeting. Fairbridge Farm.29–30 August.

Shepherd K.A. & Barrett M. (2008) Plant Taxonomy. Molecular Taxonomy Workshop facilitated by the Chief Scientist Professor Lyn Beazley. 17 April 2008. Biodiversity Conservation Centre, Kings Park.

Shepherd K.A., Butcher R., Wege J.A. & Thiele K. (2008) Systematics in a changing environment. Australian Systematic Botany Society, 28 September–3 October, Adelaide.


Shepherd K.A. (2006) Fantastic Fan Flowers – using DNA to construct a family tree. For People and Plants, Friends of Kings Park Quarterly Magazine.

Shepherd K.A., Bennett E., Wilkins C. & Sage L. (2006). Lasiopetalum pterocarpum (Malvaceae s.l.: Lasiopetaleae), a new and rare species from south-west Western Australia. Nuytsia 16: 175–181.


Shepherd K.A. (2005). A systematic analysis of the Australian Salicornioideae (Chenopodiaceae). Thesis (Ph.D.) University of Western Australia.

Shepherd K.A., Macfarlane T.D. & Colmer T.D. (2005). Morphology, anatomy and histochemistry of Salicornioideae (Chenopodiaceae) fruits and seeds. Annals of Botany 95: 917–933.

Shepherd K.A., Macfarlane T.D. & Waycott M. (2005). Phylogenetic analysis of the Australian Salicornioideae (Chenopodiaceae) based on morphology and nuclear DNA. Australian Systematic Botany 18: 89–115. [Invited paper for the Special Issue ‘Generic Concepts and Modern Taxonomy’]

Shepherd K.A., Sage L.W. & Krauss S. (2005). A molecular phylogeny of the Goodeniaceae based on nrDNA sequences. Plant systematics in Australia: where is it going? Australian Systematic Botany Society and Queensland Herbarium. 2–3 November 2005. Brisbane.


Shepherd K.A., Waycott, M. & Calladine A. (2004). Radiation of the Australian Salicornioideae (Chenopodiaceae) – based on evidence from Nuclear and Chloroplast DNA sequences. American Journal of Botany 91: 1387–1397.


Shepherd K.A. & Yan G. (2003). Chromosome numbers and size variations in the Australian Salicornioideae (Chenopodiaceae) – evidence of polyploidisation. Australian Journal of Botany 51: 441–452.

Shepherd K.A., Waycott, M. & Macfarlane T.D. (2003). A systematic analysis of the Australian salt-loving samphires (subfamily Salicornioideae, Chenopodiaceae).  Celebrating 150 years of plant research in Australia. National Herbarium of Victoria. 29 September–3 October 2003. Melbourne.


English J.P., Shepherd K.A., Colmer T.D., Jasper D.A. & Macfarlane T. (2002). Understanding the ecophysiology of stress tolerance in Australian Salicornioideae, especially Halosarcia, to enhance the revegetation of salt-affected lands. Minerals and Energy Research Institute of WA, East Perth. Minerals and Energy Research Institute of Western Australia, Report 225 44 p.

Shepherd K.A. & Yan G. (2002). Polyploidy and hybridisation in the Australian Salicornioideae (Chenopodiaceae). Plant species-level systematics; patterns, processes and new applications. Nationaal Herbarium Nederland. 13–15 November 2002. Leiden, The Netherlands.


Shepherd K.A. & Siemon N (1999). Ellen Brook Integrated Catchment Group (EBICG) – Action Plan 1998/1999.  A Natural Heritage Trust Project. Ellen Brook Integrated Catchment Group. 37pgs.

Shepherd K.A. & Siemon N. (1999). Foreshore assessment in the Canning Catchment, Water and Rivers Commission, Report No. WRM 15, East Perth. 203pgs.

Shepherd K.A. & Siemon N. (1999). Foreshore assessment in the Ellen Brook Catchment, Water and Rivers Commission, Report No. WRM 16, East Perth. 127 pgs

Shepherd K.A. & Siemon N. (1999). Testing a protocol for foreshore assessment in Metropolitan Waterways, Water and Rivers Commission, Report No. WRM 13, East Perth. 73pgs.


Bell D.T., Smith W.K. & Shepherd K.A. (1998). Association between leaf structure, orientation, light exposure in five Western Australian Communities. American Journal of Botany 85: 56–63.


Shepherd K.A., Wardell-Johnson G.W., Loneragan W.A. & Bell D.T. (1997). Diet of herbivorous marsupials in a Eucalyptus marginata forest and their impact on the understorey vegetation. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 80: 47–54.

Smith W.K., Vogelmann T.C., DeLucia E.H., Bell D.T. & Shepherd K.A. (1997). Leaf form and photosynthesis. Bioscience 47(11): 785–794.