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

Australian Journal of Botany

Australian Journal of Botany

Australian Journal of Botany is an international journal for publication of original research in plant science. The journal publishes in the areas of ecology and ecophysiology; invasive biology; conservation biology and biodiversity; forest biology and management; cell and molecular biology; palaeobotany; reproductive biology and genetics; mycology and pathology; structure and development; and aquatic botany. Read more about the journalMore

Editor-in-Chief: Dick Williams

Current Issue

Australian Journal of Botany

Volume 65 Numbers 6 & 7 2017

Understorey is a key component of a forest ecosystem. Forest thinning may change the structure, diversity and cover of the understorey by reducing tree density and increasing gaps in the forest canopy. To achieve the highest richness, evenness and cover, a combination of selective thinning intensity and residue removal rate were suggested by applying a central composite design.

BT17081Pollinarium size as a hybridisation barrier between sympatric inter-compatible orchids

B. C. Vieira, L. M. Pansarin, M. E. P. Martucci, L. Gobbo-Neto and E. R. Pansarin
pp. 497-506

This work reports on the occurrence of natural hybridisation between three sympatric orchid species. The reproduction of the species was recorded based on morpho-anatomical, histochemical analyses and intra- and interspecific crosses. The relationship between co-occurring species was verified by floral morphometry and principal component analysis, and sequence divergence analyses. All data collected suggest that no gene flow is currently occurring, and that hybridisation has been avoided due to the incompatible pollinarium size between the sympatric species, which acts as a pre-mating barrier in the studied population.

BT17114The importance of travelling stock reserves for maintaining high-quality threatened temperate woodlands

Thea O'Loughlin, Luke S. O'Loughlin, Damian R. Michael, Jeffrey T. Wood, Helen P. Waudby, Phillip Falcke and David B. Lindenmayer
pp. 507-516

Travelling stock reserves (TSRs) are critically important for the conservation of temperate woodland communities that have otherwise been extensively cleared and degraded for agriculture. We compared the vegetation attributes of TSRs with remnants managed for agricultural production and found the former supported higher native plant species richness, more native ground cover and fewer exotic plants. Our results indicate that land tenure status of remnant woodlands generally influenced several vegetation attributes that are also important for native biodiversity.

Eucalyptus delegatensis R.T. Baker subsp. delegatensis is an interval-sensitive, fire-killed eucalypt found in the Australian Alps. Flowering and fruiting in stands of saplings regenerating after the 2003 fires is occurring much earlier than previously thought. Seed from such early maturing alpine is viable, with a mean of 455 (s.d. = 139) germinants per 10 g of chaff and seed mix.

BT16239Morphoanatomical characteristics of leaves of Anacardium othonianum seedlings subjected to different nitrogen doses under hydroponic conditions

Layara A. Bessa, Marialva A. Moreira, Fabiano G. Silva, Luciana C. Vitorino, Cássia L. Rodrigues and Sebastião C. V. Filho
pp. 524-537

Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plant metabolic processes, so nutritional conditions can affect leaves and plant survival. A study of the effects of N on the foliar morphoanatomy of Anacardium othonianum showed that absence and excess of this nutrient affect leaf structure, as well as the synthesis of compounds of the metabolism. This work contributes to biological knowledge this species and to the growth of healthier seedlings.

Flowers and inflorescences are extremely diverse and some of them show structures that are difficult to interpret, which led us to ask: how are these flowers built? Inside the family of castor beans, Euphorbiaceae, a large group, Croton, shows small flowers containing some structures that are alternatively considered as petals, glands or simple filaments. Studying the development of these flowers reveals the origin of the floral parts and their real identity, taking us closer to decipher flower diversity.’

BT17121Anatomy and function of the root system of bromeliad Nidularium minutum

José L. Carvalho, Adriana H. Hayashi, Shoey Kanashiro and Armando R. Tavares
pp. 550-555

The anatomical study of the bromeliad Nidularium minutum Mez roots showed the occurrence of a multiseriate epidermis, termed velamen. The root system was as efficient as the tank for nutrients uptake, contributing to plant growth and development, most likely assisted by the presence of velamen.

BT17093Wood anatomy of Australian mirbelioids and allies (Fabaceae, Papilionoideae)

A. V. Stepanova, A. A. Oskolski and B.-E. Van Wyk
pp. 556-572

The evolutionary significance of wood anatomical characters of the Australian legume tribes Bossiaeeae and Mirbelieae is explored for the first time. Short vessel elements and the unique presence of tanniniferous tubes support the idea of a relationship with the South African tribe Hypocalypteae. The results highlight another interesting connection between the Australian and South African floras.

BT17100Nutritional and physiological responses of the dicotyledonous halophyte Sarcocornia fruticosa to salinity

Pedro García-Caparrós, Alfonso Llanderal, Maribela Pestana, Pedro José Correia and María Teresa Lao
pp. 573-581

Plants of Sarcocornia fruticosa were subjected to five saline treatments (10 (control), 60, 100, 200 and 300 mM NaCl) over a period of 60 days. The results of this experiment showed that S. fruticosa can maintain its major physiological processes at 60 mM NaCl without significant dry weight reduction.

Ecological interactions between plants and insect herbivores in Australian high mountains remain largely unexplored. We quantify the effects of herbivores on snow gum saplings near the alpine treeline and show that leaf loss is a function of elevation, plant height and traits such as leaf thickness.

BT17083Can the mother plant age of Acacia melanoxylon (Leguminosae) modulate the germinative response to fire?

Oscar Cruz, Juan García-Duro, Mercedes Casal and Otilia Reyes
pp. 593-600

To control or to favour populations of Acacia melanoxylon it is necessary to know its germinative strategy. Our work shows that fire can greatly affect the amount of seeds of A. melanoxylon germinated and that the age of mother plants influences the time in which the germination occurs after fire. These results have important implications for the management of this species whatever its purpose – either the implementation of control measures or ecological restoration.

Online Early

The peer-reviewed and edited version of record published online before inclusion in an issue

Published online 11 January 2018

BT17152Unassisted invasions: understanding and responding to Australia’s high-impact environmental grass weeds

Rieks D. van Klinken and Margaret H. Friedel
Graphical Abstract Image

Alien grass species are among the worst environmental weeds in Australia. We analysed the 339 currently naturalised species and found 17 to seriously impact diverse environments across Australia. Available evidence suggests their success was assisted by ecological novelty, high propagule pressure and an ability to respond to, and even alter, natural disturbance regimes. New management approaches will be needed to negate these natural advantages.

Published online 11 January 2018

BT17096Saving rainforests in the South Pacific: challenges in ex situ conservation

Karen D. Sommerville, Bronwyn Clarke, Gunnar Keppel, Craig McGill, Zoe-Joy Newby, Sarah V. Wyse, Shelley A. James and Catherine A. Offord
Graphical Abstract Image

Rainforests in the South Pacific are under threat as a result of ongoing logging, clearing for agriculture or mining, introduced species and other anthropogenic sources. Ex situ conservation offers a means to prevent the extinction of rainforest plants and provide a source of material for ecosystem restoration. Preliminary research to determine which species are suitable for seed banking, and which require alternative conservation methods, is urgently required.

Published online 09 January 2018

BT17116Genetic and environmental parameters show associations with essential oil composition in West Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum)

Jessie Moniodis, Michael Renton, Christopher G. Jones, E. Liz Barbour and Margaret Byrne
Graphical Abstract Image

Santalum spicatum contains a valuable, terpene-rich essential oil in its heartwood. In this study we sought to improve understanding of genetic and environmental contributors to chemical variability. Results showing links of variability with genetics and the environment will be used to direct future studies which aim to improve breeding options for terpenes sought by industry. Further work should be directed at finding additional causes of terpene variation across species of Santalum, which can be used to improve commercial and conservation goals.

Published online 08 January 2018

BT17128Population genetics of Melaleuca irbyana (Myrtaceae) the ‘swamp tea tree’ and implications for its conservation and restoration

Reuben Burrough, Gabriel Conroy, Robert W. Lamont, Yoko Shimizu-Kimura and Alison Shapcott
Graphical Abstract Image

The endangered tree Melaleuca irbyana (Myrtaceae) dominates the critically endangered, south-east Queensland swamp tea tree forest where there are active recovery programs. New populations were recently found in the Brigalow Belt outside its previously known range and were found to be genetically distinct. The species populations contain moderate genetic diversity and are not principally clonal. There is considerable differentiation among populations, particularly between the geographic regions it occupies, so care should be taken to consider local provenance in restoration plantings.

Graphical Abstract Image

Our understanding of how recruitment influences population genetic structure of plants endemic to granite outcrops is limited. I surveyed genetic diversity, growth rate and survival, and parentage of seedlings in a rare recruitment event of the granite-endemic tree Eucalyptus caesia. The seedlings were less heterozygous than adults, yet there were no trends in heterozygosity or fixation values of seedlings over 20 months to match those of adults, and no evidence for reduced growth rates or survivorship of relatively inbred offspring. E. caesia may have mechanisms in place to cope with low genetic variation and genetic insularity.

Published online 21 December 2017

BT17155Seed ecology informs restoration approaches for threatened species in water-limited environments: a case study on the short-range Banded Ironstone endemic Ricinocarpos brevis (Euphorbiaceae)

Shane R. Turner, Wolfgang Lewandrowski, Carole P. Elliott, Luis Merino-Martín, Ben P. Miller, Jason C. Stevens, Todd E. Erickson and David J. Merritt
Graphical Abstract Image

Translocation of threatened species is challenging, especially when using direct seeding for in-situ establishment. Within Australia, ~14% of threatened species translocations use directly sown seeds with unpredictable and highly variable results. Using laboratory and field experiments, we focussed on understanding the relative importance of temperature, moisture, light, germination stimulants and sowing depth to develop a detailed seed ecology profile of the threatened shrub, Ricinocarpos brevis. Moisture was identified as the primary factor regulating germination and in situ emergence. With this knowledge, strategies to deal with this limitation can now be developed and implemented for future translocation success.

Graphical Abstract Image

Scalping (topsoil removal), grass canopy removal by burning or slashing, nutrient reduction by adding carbon to the soil and native plant recruitment improvement by adding seed were compared as tools for restoring Cumberland Plain Woodland ground cover. The greatest increases in native species numbers occurred when (i) the topsoil was scalped and native seed added, (ii) the grass canopy was burnt, and soil carbon and native seed added; or (iii) the grass canopy was slashed and native seed added.

Published online 18 December 2017

BT17150Demographic vulnerability of an extreme xerophyte in arid Australia

Lynda D. Prior, Quan Hua and David M. J. S. Bowman
Graphical Abstract Image

Callitris glaucophylla is an iconic Australian conifer, but in much of the arid zone there has been little recent regeneration. We found that near Roxby Downs, at the arid extreme of its range, good rain in 2010/11 did not lead to seedling establishment, probably because the wet period was not long enough. Radiocarbon dating showed these trees have a maximum lifespan of ~270 years, which together with instrumental climate records suggests that here, trees of this species have only 2–8 climatic opportunities to reproduce.

Published online 30 November 2017

BT17154Benefits of adopting seed-based technologies for rehabilitation in the mining sector: a Pilbara perspective

Todd E. Erickson, Miriam Muñoz-Rojas, Olga A. Kildisheva, Brad A. Stokes, Stephen A. White, Joanne L. Heyes, Emma L. Dalziell, Wolfgang Lewandrowski, Jeremy J. James, Matthew D. Madsen, Shane R. Turner and David J. Merritt

Many aspects of seed biology are often overlooked in large-scale rehabilitation programs leading to the inefficient use of seed, and, consequently, limited plant establishment success. Through targeted research programs, a large body of empirical seed-use knowledge is now available to the mining and rehabilitation sector. In this paper we highlight how this knowledge has been used to improve direct seeding practices, through large-scale seed procurement, improved seed storage protocols, seed dormancy classification for over 100 species, effective pre-treatments to promote germination, and topsoil and growth media management research

Published online 16 November 2017

BT16236Priorities for enhancing the ex situ conservation and use of Australian crop wild relatives

Sally L. Norton, Colin K. Khoury, Chrystian C. Sosa, Nora P. Castañeda-Álvarez, Harold A. Achicanoy and Steven Sotelo

Contributions by Australia’s crop wild relatives to plant breeding are dependent upon their availability for research via genebanks, yet the comprehensiveness of genebank collections for these species has not been assessed. We determined the state of representation of Australia’s major food crop wild relatives in ex situ conservation, identifying the gaps needing to be filled and outlining the key activities required to more fully safeguard their diversity and to increase their use.

Published online 14 September 2017

BT17036Seed dormancy and germination of three grassy woodland forbs required for diverse restoration

Gabrielle S. Vening, Lydia K. Guja, Peter G. Spooner and Jodi N. Price

Restoration is vital for the re-establishment of degraded communities, but success is often hindered by issues related to seed biology. We examined dormancy-alleviation and germination-promotion techniques for three common grassy woodland forbs required for diverse restoration. Scarification of the seed produced the highest germination for Dianella longifolia and Stackhousia monogyna, whereas germination of Dianella revoluta requires further examination. This information can advance methods to propagate these species from seed and contribute to greater understorey diversity in grassy woodland restoration.

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