Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Dormancy in Caladenia: a Bayesian approach to evaluating latency

Raymond L. Tremblay A H , Maria-Eglée Perez B , Matthew Larcombe C , Andrew Brown D , Joe Quarmby E , Doug Bickerton E , Garry French F and Andrew Bould G
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Biology, 100 Carr. 908, University of Puerto Rico, Humacao Campus, Humacao, Puerto Rico, 00791-4300, USA and Crest-Catec, Center for Applied Tropical Ecology and Conservation, PO Box 23341, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, 00931-3341, USA.

B Department of Mathematics, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA, 00931-3355. Crest-Catec, Center for Applied Tropical Ecology and Conservation, PO Box 23341, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, 00931-3341, USA.

C Threatened Species Section, Department of Primary Industries and Water, GPO Box 44, Hobart, Tas. 7001, Australia.

D Species and Communities Branch, Department of Environment and Conservation, Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre, WA 6983, Australia.

E Threatened Species Unit, Conservation Policy and Programs, Department for Environment and Heritage, GPO Box 1047, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia.

F Parks Victoria, Yarra District, PO Box 568, Templestowe, Vic. 3106, Australia.

G 109 Western Boulevard, Raymond Island, Vic. 3880, Australia.

H Corresponding author. Email: raymond@hpcf.upr.edu

Australian Journal of Botany 57(4) 340-350 https://doi.org/10.1071/BT08163
Submitted: 30 August 2008  Accepted: 18 June 2009   Published: 29 July 2009

Abstract

Dormancy is common in many terrestrial orchids in southern Australia and other temperate environments. The difficulty for conservation and management when considering dormancy is ascertaining whether non-emergent plants are dormant or dead. Here we use a multi-state capture–recapture method, undertaken over several seasons, to determine the likelihood of a plant becoming dormant or dying following its annual emergent period and evaluate the frequency of the length of dormancy. We assess the transition probabilities from time series of varying lengths for the following nine terrestrial orchids in the genus Caladenia: C. amoena, C. argocalla, C. clavigera, C. elegans, C. graniticola, C. macroclavia, C. oenochila, C. rosella and C. valida from Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. We used a Bayesian approach for estimating survivorship, dormancy and the likelihood of death from capture–recapture data. Considering all species together, the probability of surviving from one year to the next was ~86%, whereas the likelihood of observing an individual above ground in two consecutive years was ~74%. All species showed dormancy of predominantly 1 year, whereas dormancy of three or more years was extremely rare (<2%). The results have practical implications for conservation, in that (1) population sizes of Caladenia species are more easily estimated by being able to distinguish the likelihood of an unseen individual being dormant or dead, (2) population dynamics of individuals can be evaluated by using a 1–3-year dormancy period and (3) survey effort is not wasted on monitoring individuals that have not emerged for many years.


Acknowledgements

M. L. is funded by the Tasmanian Cross Regional NRM project to Implement Threatened Species Recovery Plans. J. Q. and D. B. give their appreciation to Deb Way, Kate Greenhill, Irene Thomas, Heather Bryant, David Kilpin, Cathy & Malcolm Houston, Peter McCauley, Rick Davies, Pam O’Malley, Rod Hawke, Ken & Barb Bayley and Thelma & Phil Bridle for their help, and to the Adelaide & Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board, Northern & Yorke NRM Board and Natural Heritage Trust for funding.


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