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Investigation of 18 physiologically dormant Australian native species: Germination response, environmental correlations and the implications for conservation

Journal Article


Abstract


  • For physiologically dormant (PD) species in fire-prone environments, dormancy can be both complex due to the interaction between fire and seasonal cues, and extremely deep due to long intervals between recruitment events. Due to this complexity, there are knowledge gaps particularly surrounding the dormancy depth and cues of long-lived perennial PD species. This can be problematic for both in situ and ex situ species management. We used germination experiments that tested seasonal temperature, smoke, dark and heat for 18 PD shrub species distributed across temperate fire-prone Australia and assessed how germination was correlated with environmental factors associated with their home environments. We found extremely high levels of dormancy, with only eight species germinating above 10% and three species producing no germination at all. Seven of these eight species had quite specific seasonal temperature requirements and/or very strong responses to smoke cues. The maximum germination for each species was positively correlated with the mean temperature of the source population but negatively correlated with rainfall seasonality and driest months. The strong dependence on a smoke cue for some of the study species, along with examples from other studies, provides evidence that an obligate smoke response could be a fire-adapted germination cue. Germination response correlated with rainfall season of the source populations is a pattern which has often been assumed but little comparative data across sites with different rainfall seasonality exists. Further investigation of a broader range of species from different rainfall season environments would help to elucidate this knowledge gap.

Publication Date


  • 2020

Citation


  • Collette, J. C., & Ooi, M. K. J. (2020). Investigation of 18 physiologically dormant Australian native species: Germination response, environmental correlations and the implications for conservation. Seed Science Research. doi:10.1017/S0960258520000422

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85097904459

Volume


Issue


Place Of Publication


Abstract


  • For physiologically dormant (PD) species in fire-prone environments, dormancy can be both complex due to the interaction between fire and seasonal cues, and extremely deep due to long intervals between recruitment events. Due to this complexity, there are knowledge gaps particularly surrounding the dormancy depth and cues of long-lived perennial PD species. This can be problematic for both in situ and ex situ species management. We used germination experiments that tested seasonal temperature, smoke, dark and heat for 18 PD shrub species distributed across temperate fire-prone Australia and assessed how germination was correlated with environmental factors associated with their home environments. We found extremely high levels of dormancy, with only eight species germinating above 10% and three species producing no germination at all. Seven of these eight species had quite specific seasonal temperature requirements and/or very strong responses to smoke cues. The maximum germination for each species was positively correlated with the mean temperature of the source population but negatively correlated with rainfall seasonality and driest months. The strong dependence on a smoke cue for some of the study species, along with examples from other studies, provides evidence that an obligate smoke response could be a fire-adapted germination cue. Germination response correlated with rainfall season of the source populations is a pattern which has often been assumed but little comparative data across sites with different rainfall seasonality exists. Further investigation of a broader range of species from different rainfall season environments would help to elucidate this knowledge gap.

Publication Date


  • 2020

Citation


  • Collette, J. C., & Ooi, M. K. J. (2020). Investigation of 18 physiologically dormant Australian native species: Germination response, environmental correlations and the implications for conservation. Seed Science Research. doi:10.1017/S0960258520000422

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85097904459

Volume


Issue


Place Of Publication