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Aerial seed storage in Melaleuca ericifolia Sm. (Swamp Paperbark): environmental triggers for seed release

Hamilton-Brown, Sheila, Boon, Paul I, Raulings, Elisa, Morris, Kay and Robinson, Randall (2009) Aerial seed storage in Melaleuca ericifolia Sm. (Swamp Paperbark): environmental triggers for seed release. Hydrobiologia, 620 (1). pp. 121-133. ISSN 0018-8158

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Aerial seed banks are potentially the main source of sexual recruitment for woody wetland plants. Whilst the importance of soil seed banks for the persistence and recruitment of wetland plants has been examined in many studies, the role of aerial seed banks has been largely neglected. We used seed traps and the seedling emergence technique to quantify the seed rain from aerial seed banks of the Swamp Paperbark Melaleuca ericifolia Sm. (Myrtaceae) in Dowd Morass, a Ramsar-listed, brackish-water wetland in south-eastern Australia. Nine plant species germinated from material collected in seed traps over 2004–2005, but emergents were dominated (80–97%) by M. ericifolia. The mean number of M. ericifolia emergents ranged from <1 to <100 seedlings m−2 day−1, and showed a peak in the summer–autumn period. Regression analysis showed a significant negative correlation (r 2 = 0.738) between the number of M. ericifolia emergents and water depth. Water depth and salinity were negatively correlated (r 2 = 0.819), and increases in the number of M. ericifolia emergents as water levels fell were also associated with high salinities. Increasing air temperature and vapour pressure deficit also stimulated seed release during periods of drying. This study is one of the first to demonstrate the importance of aerial seed banks for sexual recruitment in woody wetland plants and the release of seed in relation to environmental factors. Aerial seed banks warrant consideration alongside soil seed banks for the establishment and long-term survival of woody plants in wetlands.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: ResPubID17758, aerial seed bank, seed rain, melaleuca ericifolia, water regime, environmental triggers, wetland
Subjects: Historical > SEO Classification > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Engineering and Science
Current > FOR Classification > 0607 Plant Biology
Depositing User: . VUIR
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2011 03:24
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2013 00:10
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Citations in Scopus: 19 - View on Scopus

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