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 the publication of original research and reviews in plant science with relevance to Southern Hemisphere ecosystems including ecology and ecophysiology, conservation biology and biodiversity, forest biology and management, cell and molecular biology, palaeobotany, reproductive biology and genetics, mycology and pathology and structure and development. Read more about the journalMore

Editor-in-Chief: Dick Williams

Current Issue

Australian Journal of Botany

Volume 64 Number 6 2016

BT16031Arsenic detoxification in two populations of Borreria verticillata (Rubiaceae) with differential tolerance to the metalloid

Samara Arcanjo-Silva, Naiara V. Campos, Ivan Becari-Viana, Luzimar C. da Silva, Cleberson Ribeiro and Aristéa A. Azevedo
pp. 467-475

Water and soil pollution promotes environmental degradation and interferes with the fauna and flora, and pollutants such as arsenic (As) are toxic to most organisms. Plant populations that grow on polluted and unpolluted sites have differences in As-tolerance, and more efficient strategies to combat the toxic effects of the metalloid have been identified in plants from the contaminated site. The identification of As-tolerant plant species/populations allows for their use in the revegetation of areas contaminated with this element.

BT16008Modelling the influence of snowfall on cyanobacterial crusts in the Gurbantunggut Desert, northern China

R. Hui, R. M. Zhao, L. C. Liu, G. Li, H. T. Yang, Y. H. Gao and X. Q. Wang
pp. 476-483

Little information is available regarding the influence of snowfall on BSCs in desert ecosystems. In this present study, we assessed the effects of snowfall on photosynthesis, moisture contents, and concentrations of soluble protein and malondialdehyde (MDA). On the basis of these analyses, we discussed the necessity and importance of snowfall for cyanobacterial crusts in desert regions.

In Tasmania, snow does not usually persist over the winter outside 86 ha in 119 snow patches. There are five floristic communities in these patches, all being distinct from those in mainland Australian snow patches. The Tasmanian snow patches merit listing as a threatened ecosystem on the basis of their distinctiveness and restricted extent.

BT15285Seed dormancy and germination in different populations of the Argentinan endemic halophyte grass, Sporobolus phleoides (Poaceae: Chloridoideae)

Geraldina Alicia Richard, María Carolina Cerino, José Francisco Pensiero and Juan Marcelo Zabala
pp. 492-500

Sporobolus phleoides is a potential resource for saline environments. Its seeds showed non-deep physiological dormancy, which was removed with puncturing treatments. Six different evaluated populations showed similar germination responses, especially when they were subjected to cold stratification. This factor appears to be determinant on seedling establishment in natural environments.

BT16070Solving taxonomic problems within the Aldama genus based on anatomical characters

Aline Bertolosi Bombo, Arinawa Liz Filartiga and Beatriz Appezzato-da-Glória
pp. 501-512

Anatomical characteristics are important for taxonomic studies on different plant families. The present study focussed on four Brazilian Aldama species (Asteraceae family) that were chosen because they are difficult to identify and have biological and pharmacological potential. All four species analysed could be differentiated on the basis of the set of anatomical features described for each species. So, we concluded that anatomy is able to provide data to assist with the taxonomic problems within the four species analysed herein.

BT16087Cause and effects of a megafire in sedge-heathland in the Tasmanian temperate wilderness

Ben J. French, Lynda D. Prior, Grant J. Williamson and David M. J. S. Bowman
pp. 513-525

Following cessation of Aboriginal land management, the temperate wilderness of south-western Tasmania has been burnt by infrequent, extensive wildfires, including in 2013. We surveyed the effects of this wildfire and found that it killed most woody vegetation in sedge-heathland. Fire severity was affected by time since previous fire, with the wildfire self-extinguishing near the boundary of a milder management fire set 2 years earlier. Our study demonstrated how prescribed burning can create landscape heterogeneity and limit megafires.

Resource allocation within montane wetlands was tested against nutrient, fire and disturbance frequency gradients. High nutrients and low disturbance favoured polycarpic species, large leaves and fruit. Low nutrients and moderate disturbance favoured woody polycarpy and larger seeds. Frequently inundation favoured soil stored diaspores and monocarpy with rapid vegetative growth.

Woody plant density has increased in many ecosystems, but whether this is principally driven by post-disturbance recovery or a cessation of disturbance events is contested. We examined which these best explain changes in river red gum forests along the Murray River, using stumps to infer historic forest structure.

BT16034Ant defence of a dioecious shrub, Adriana quadripartita (Euphorbiaceae), with extrafloral nectaries

Kieren P. Beaumont, Duncan A. Mackay and Molly A. Whalen
pp. 539-546

Extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) attract ants that can provide defence against herbivorous insects, although the outcomes of this mutualism can vary greatly. For the dioecious shrub, Adriana quadripartita, the presence of ants tending EFNs reduced herbivore numbers; however, herbivore numbers were overall greater on male plants and ants reduced leaf damage on male but not female plants. In the context of this and previous studies on Adriana, plant sex is another factor that is likely to influence the outcomes of this ant–plant–herbivore interaction.

Approved and proposed mineral sands mines in the Murray–Darling Basin have the potential to adversely affect large tracts of land with spinifex–mallee vegetation. Broad-scale revegetation of this vegetation type has not been attempted in south-eastern Australia, but a small-scale revegetation trial at Wemen in Victoria’s semiarid north-west indicated much promise with hand-planting of tubestock of spinifex (Triodia scariosa) and mallee eucalypts. Although spatially limited, the results of this trial suggest that spinifex tubestock planted at high densities can achieve restoration objectives for this component of spinifex–mallee vegetation.

Online Early

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

Arillastrum gummiferum (Myrtaceae) and Nothofagus aequilateralis (Nothofagaceae) are two tree species known to dominate the upper canopy of some rainforests on ultramafic substrates in New Caledonia. Structure, diversity and composition of these forests were investigated to better understand the ecological mechanisms leading to their monodominance.

Published online 02 December 2016

BT15280Photosynthetic and anatomical responses of three plant species at two altitudinal levels in the Neotropical savannah

Vinícius Coelho Kuster, Silvana Aparecida Barbosa de Castro and Fernando Henrique Aguiar Vale

Three plants from Neotropical savannah were evaluated at two altitudinal areas, separated by 700 m. The leaf anatomy, the quantum yield of photosystem II, and the photosynthetic pigments were taken during the rainy season. High structural modifications and low physiological alterations were apparent, showing that the abiotic factors appear to modulate the plastic responses of plants across altitude.

The spider orchids (Caladenia) of Australia comprise the largest single terrestrial orchid genus, with >300 species, however many are threatened in their natural habitats – including the grand spider orchid (C. huegelii). We report on development of successful tissue culture and cryopreservation protocols for off-site (ex situ) germplasm conservation.

Published online 25 November 2016

BT16124How old are the eucalypts? A review of the microfossil and phylogenetic evidence

Mike Macphail and Andrew H. Thornhill

The extrapolation back in time of characters found in living species and populations to their common ancestor suggests that the eucalypts, and possibly the fire-adapted traits that now allow eucalypts to dominate sclerophyll forests and woodlands in Australia, had evolved ~65 million years ago. This is some 12 million years earlier than the oldest known eucalypt fossils. Our paper identifies reasons underlying this discrepancy and suggests ways this might be resolved.

Published online 22 November 2016

BT16091Genetic and morphological analysis of multi-stemmed plants of tuart (Eucalyptus gomphocephala)

M. Byrne, A. Koenders, K. Rogerson, J. Sampson and E. J. B. van Etten

Investigation of genetic and morphological differentiation in tree and multi-stemmed forms of tuart (Eucalyptus gomphocephala) showed no genetic differentiation associated with growth habit, but there were some morphological differences in buds and fruits. The differences in growth habit in fragmented populations at the northern end of the distribution on the Swan Coastal Plain in Western Australia are likely to be due to environmental factors associated with harsh conditions.

How Aborigines shaped the Australian environment with fire has been fiercely contested by historians and ecologists. The present paper uses ecological theory, and historic archives to review and test our understanding of the role of Aboriginal burning in temperate grasslands. Fire-stick farming for the production of staple roots was likely instrumental in grassland formation and maintenance, and implies targeted management that affected the structure and function of temperate grassy ecosystems.

Published online 15 November 2016

BT16109Cretaceous fire in Australia: a review with new geochemical evidence, and relevance to the rise of the angiosperms

Raymond J. Carpenter, Alexander I. Holman, Andrew D. Abell and Kliti Grice

Numerous Australian plants show fire-adapted traits that may have evolved in the Cretaceous. Fossil evidence of Cretaceous fires elsewhere on Earth has been much better known than in Australia, but we confirm that Cretaceous fire evidence does occur widely in Australia. Cretaceous burning reasonably influenced the evolution of modern Australian environments, with the most interesting evidence being the success of members of the Proteaceae family, lineages of which were important in burnt, open habitats at least 70 million years ago.

Published online 07 November 2016

BT16117Evolution of the eucalypts – an interpretation from the macrofossil record

Robert S. Hill, Yelarney K. Beer, Kathryn E. Hill, Elizabeth Maciunas, Myall A. Tarran and Carmine C. Wainman

Eucalypts dominate the Australian vegetation today and thrive in a high fire frequency environment. Their macrofossil record suggests they originated in the Weddellian Biogeographic Province, around the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary, in an area with high natural fire frequency and some dry periods when flammable fuel could accumulate.

Published online 04 November 2016

BT16128High nuclear genetic differentiation, but low chloroplast diversity in a rare species, Aluta quadrata (Myrtaceae), with a disjunct distribution in the Pilbara, Western Australia

M. Byrne, D. J. Coates, B. M. Macdonald, M. Hankinson, S. M. McArthur and S. van Leeuwen

The rare Pilbara species Aluta quadrata is found in three geographically separated locations in the Hamersley Range, and a genetic study identified a moderate to high contemporary differentiation among locations, but low historical differentiation. The differences among locations suggest the use of local seed sources for augmentation or establishment of new populations, as may be required to manage impacts from mining operations.

Published online 31 October 2016

BT16105Whole-chloroplast analysis as an approach for fine-tuning the preservation of a highly charismatic but critically endangered species, Wollemia nobilis (Araucariaceae)

Abigail Greenfield, Hannah McPherson, Tony Auld, Sven Delaney, Catherine A. Offord, Marlien van der Merwe, Jia-Yee S. Yap and Maurizio Rossetto

The critically endangered Wollemi pine is the sole remnant of an ancient lineage with extremely low, and previously undetected, genetic variation. Advanced genomic techniques enabled the detection of genetic diversity at two sites. This information is critical for ex situ preservation of this charismatic species and highlights the simple application of new technologies to biodiversity conservation.

Published online 18 October 2016

BT15288Evaluation of Pseudoraphis spinescens (Poaceae) seed bank from Barmah Forest floodplain

Rebecca A. Durant, Daryl L. Nielsen and Keith A. Ward

Long-lived seed banks provide the ability for many plants to survive extended periods of drought. The failure of P. spinescens (a key wetland plant in Barmah Forest) to germinate post-drought was found to be implicated with the lack of a viable long-lived seed bank. For this species in this system, regeneration from stem fragments and rootstock may be more important than germination from seeds.

Published online 14 October 2016

BT16049Promiscuous pollination of Australia’s baobab, the boab, Adansonia gregorii

Jordy Groffen, Gary Rethus and Jack Pettigrew

Australia’s native baobab, Adansonia gregorii, is the only baobab tree outside the African continent and is thought to be hawkmoth-pollinated. The aim was to identify major pollinators. The results of the current study show that the tree is mammal-pollinated, with the black flying fox (Pteropus alecto) as the main pollinator.

Published online 14 October 2016

BT16138Fire, people and ecosystem change in Pleistocene Australia

Christopher N. Johnson

The arrival of people did not itself cause large extensive change in fire regimes in Pleistocene Australia. However, people caused megafaunal extinction, and this resulted in dramatic changes to fire and vegetation, but only in some environments.

Published online 27 September 2016

BT16065Half-topping 'A4' macadamia trees has a markedly different effect on yield than full-topping

Trevor Olesen, David Robertson, Alister Janetzki and Tina Robertson

Tree height control is important in the management of macadamia orchards. Hedging the tops of the trees is quick and cheap, but brings with it a large yield penalty. We show that hedging only half the tops of the trees has much less of a yield penalty and restricts the regrowth.

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  1. New handbook for standardised measurement of plant functional traits worldwide

    Australian Journal of Botany 61 (3)
    N. Pérez-Harguindeguy, S. Díaz, E. Garnier, S. Lavorel, H. Poorter, P. Jaureguiberry, M. S. Bret-Harte, W. K. Cornwell, J. M. Craine, D. E. Gurvich, C. Urcelay, E. J. Veneklaas, P. B. Reich, L. Poorter, I. J. Wright, P. Ray, L. Enrico, J. G. Pausas, A. C. de Vos, N. Buchmann, G. Funes, F. Quétier, J. G. Hodgson, K. Thompson, H. D. Morgan, H. ter Steege, L. Sack, B. Blonder, P. Poschlod, M. V. Vaieretti, G. Conti, A. C. Staver, S. Aquino, J. H. C. Cornelissen

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