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

Morphological and molecular variation in Conospermum triplinervium (Proteaceae), the tree smokebush: implications for bushland restoration

Elizabeth Sinclair A B D , Belinda Cheetham A B , Siegfried Krauss B C and Richard Hobbs A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Environmental Science, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia.

B Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, Fraser Avenue, West Perth, WA 6005, Australia.

C School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia, Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: esinclair@iinet.net.au

Australian Journal of Botany 56(5) 451-460 https://doi.org/10.1071/BT07137
Submitted: 18 July 2007  Accepted: 7 April 2008   Published: 24 July 2008

Abstract

Ecological restoration benefits from information on population genetic structure and variation within a species to make informed decisions on where to source material of the local genetic provenance. Conospermum triplinervium is extremely rare in Bold Park, a large bushland remnant currently undergoing restoration in Perth, Western Australia. We sampled plants from Bold Park and six other native populations across the northern half of the species’ range to assess patterns of morphological and genetic variation. There was considerable variation across six leaf measures with significant differentiation among some populations. The molecular data showed a high level of population structure (ΘB = 0.4974), with varying degrees of spatial overlap among populations in an ordination plot. Significant differentiation was observed among all pairs of populations, except for Bold Park and its geographically closest populations at Kings Park and Neerabup. These two populations had greater genetic variation (50.9% and 54.5% polymorphic markers, respectively) than did that at Bold Park (20.2%). The small Bold Park population would benefit from augmentation (via cuttings) from local plants. However, in the longer term, should the Bold Park population show evidence of declining viability, then material should be sourced from the genetically similar Kings Park population to increase genetic variation whilst also maintaining genetic integrity.


Acknowledgements

All materials were collected under valid permits (DEC and BGPA). Thanks go to R. Barrett, G. Messina, E. Bennett, B. Bowen, R. Dixon, F. Hort, A. Tinker and L. Sage for help with locating field sites; K. Dixon and N. Swarts for samples from Nambung Flats; R. Standish and T. He for statistical advice; A. Shade and G. Messina for providing data on seed germination and propagation success; S. Easton for discussion on plant survival in the Kings Park bushland. This research was funded by an ARC linkage grant (LP0348958).


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