Associate Professor Stephen Trueman

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Associate Professor Stephen Trueman


Teaching areas

  • Plant Growth and Reproduction
  • Cell Biology

Research areas

  • plant propagation
  • plant tissue culture
  • plant reproductive biology


Associate Professor Stephen Trueman has extensive experience in plant propagation and reproductive biology, specialising in trees used for horticulture, forestry, pharmaceuticals or revegetation. He has previously held positions at the University of Missouri, La Trobe University, The University of Queensland, and the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Stephen has managed large projects in eucalpyt, mahogany, exotic pine and Wollemi pine propagation, attracting more than $7 million in research funding.

He employs tissue culture, synthetic seed and cuttings systems to multiply and store valuable plant varieties.

The eucalypt, mahogany and exotic pine projects underpin plantation establishment by large forestry companies in the tropics and subtropics, while the Wollemi pine project allowed worldwide horticultural release of an endangered species.

Other projects are focusing on propagation of valuable trees for pharmaceutical production, and for mining and roadside revegetation.

Research grants

  • Propagation of Pomaderris clivicola and Bertya pedicellata. Associate Professor Stephen Trueman. North Burnett Regional Council. 2013-2015. These threatened species are impacted by road remediation work. The project has developed tissue culture and cuttings methods for plant propagation, and delivered plants to an environmental offset planting.
  • Conservation genetics and propagation of Philotheca sporadica. Dr Alison Shapcott, Associate Professor Stephen Trueman. QGC Ltd. 2011-2013. This threatened species is impacted by construction of major pipelines for transport of coal seam gas. The project team has developed successful methods for Philotheca propagation, and verified that translocated plants in offset plantings are genetically representative of the impacted populations.
  • Smart Forests Alliance Queensland. Associate Professor Helen Wallace, Associate Professor Stephen Trueman, Dr David Walton, Associate Professor Peter Waterman, Dr Christian Jones, Associate Professor David Lee and collaborators from CSIRO, DAFF Queensland, DPIF Northern Territory, Elders Forestry and Forest Enterprises Australia. Smart State Innovation Fund – National and International Research Alliances Program. 2009-2012. The Smart Forests Alliance is a Queensland Government initiative to accelerate production of fast-growing hardwood trees for forest plantations and carbon sequestration. The main focuses have been high-value species of Eucalyptus, Corymbia and Khaya.
  • Characterising wood properties for deployment of elite subtropical and tropical hardwoods. Associate Professor Stephen Trueman, Associate Professor Helen Wallace, Associate Professor David Lee and collaborators from CSIRO, DAFF Queensland, Elders Forestry, Forestry Plantations Queensland and Forest Enterprises Australia. Plantation Hardwoods Research Fund. 2009-2012. This project characterised the timber quality of Eucalyptus and Corymbia species in plantation trials, and developed propagation methods to release the best tree varieties to the plantation industry.
  • Designing food and habitat trees for urban koalas. Associate Professor Stephen Trueman, Associate Professor Helen Wallace, Associate Professor David Lee. Moreton Bay Regional Council and the University of the Sunshine Coast. 2007-2009. Koala populations in urban areas are under threat because of land clearing for development. Many eucalypt species are used by koalas for food, but most species are not favoured for urban plantings because of their large size. This project developed smaller eucalypts that provide food and shelter for koalas but are also suitable for urban plantings.
  • Potential of Corymbia torelliana hybrids for hardwood forestry, and investigation of their seed dispersal by Trigona bees. Dr Rhonda Stokoe, Associate Professor Helen Wallace, Associate Professor David Lee, Associate Professor Stephen Trueman. Australian Research Council. 2002-2005. One of the most exciting discoveries for subtropical forestry has been the hybrid between Corymbia torelliana and spotted gums (e.g. C. citriodora), which possesses disease tolerance, fast growth and excellent timber. However, C. torelliana is regarded as a weed, dispersed by bees. The project team found that its hybrids are rarely dispersed by bees.
  • Wollemi pine commercialisation. Associate Professor Stephen Trueman, Dr Judy King, Mr Geoff Pegg, Dr Tim Smith. Forestry Plantations Queensland. 2001-2005. The Wollemi pine made international headlines when it was discovered in a deep rainforest canyon in 1994. Less than 100 adult trees were alive in the wild. Project scientists developed tissue culture and cuttings methods to produce over one million plants for worldwide horticultural release.
  • Exotic pine micropropagation and storage. Associate Professor Stephen Trueman. Forestry Plantations Queensland. 2001-2005. Pine trees in tropical and subtropical Australia have been planted as cuttings, produced from hedged stock plants of elite clones. This project developed shoot culture, organogenesis, cool storage, somatic embryogenesis and cryopreservation methods to maintain juvenility of clones during and after clonal selection.


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