Distribution of Clonal and Non-Clonal Wetland Plants at Clydebank Morass, Gippsland Lakes, in Relation to Elevation and Salinity Gradients

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Hatton, Matthew J, Boon, Paul I and Robinson, Randall ORCID: 0000-0001-8425-0709 (2008) Distribution of Clonal and Non-Clonal Wetland Plants at Clydebank Morass, Gippsland Lakes, in Relation to Elevation and Salinity Gradients. The Victorian Naturalist, 125 (1). pp. 11-18. ISSN 0042-5184


A review of the published literature suggested that plants with a clonal growth habit dominated the vegetation of wetlands in many parts of the world. To test whether this pattern held in Australia, the distribution of plants with clonal and non-clonal growth habits was examined in Clydebank Morass, a brackish-water wetland of the Gippsland Lakes in south-eastern Victoria. Nineteen of the twenty species of aquatic or semi-aquatic plants present in the wetland were clonal. In terms of both species number and percentage cover, clonal plants dominated the vegetation in wet and intermittently damp parts of the Morass whereas non-clonal plants were progressively more common as elevations increased. This elevational effect was due more to changes in soil moisture content than in soil salinity. These results not only confirmed the prediction that clonal plants were the dominant growth habit in the wetland but were consistent with predictions made in the 1960s as to likely vegetation changes as the Gippsland Lakes became progressively salinised. Understanding the dominance of wetlands by clonal plants has implications for assessments of plant fitness and the maintenance of plant biodiversity and habitat heterogeneity; it is central also to improving the success with which degraded wetlands are rehabilitated.

Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/3701
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Institute for Sustainability and Innovation (ISI)
Historical > SEO Classification > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Engineering and Science
Historical > FOR Classification > 0602 Ecology
Keywords ResPubID15845, ResPubID14791. vegetation of wetlands, plants with clonal and non-clonal growth habits, Clydebank Morass, Gippsland Lakes, Victoria (Australia), aquatic or semi-aquatic plants, salinisation, maintenance of plant biodiversity, habitat heterogeneity, rehabilitation of degraded wetlands
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