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Gondwanan conifer clones imperilled by bushfire

Citation

Worth, JRP and Sakaguchi, S and Rann, KD and Bowman, CJW and Ito, M and Jordan, GJ and Bowman, DMJS, Gondwanan conifer clones imperilled by bushfire, Scientific Reports, 6 Article 33930. ISSN 2045-2322 (2016) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

DOI: doi:10.1038/srep33930

Abstract

Global increases in fire frequency driven by anthropogenic greenhouse emissions and land use change could threaten unique and ancient species by creeping into long-term fire refugia. The perhumid and mountainous western half of Tasmania is a globally important refugium for palaeo-endemic, fire intolerant lineages, especially conifers. Reproductive strategy will be crucial to the resilience of these organisms under warmer, dryer and more fire prone climates. This study analysed clonal versus sexual reproduction in old growth plots dominated by the palaeo-endemic conifer Athrotaxis cupressoides (Cupressaceae), a species that lacks any traits to tolerate frequent landscape fire. Across most of the seven plots the amount of sexually derived individuals was lower than clonally derived with, on average, 60% of all stems belonging to the same multi-locus lineage (MLL) (i.e. were clonal). Some MLLs were large spanning over 10 s of metres and consisted of up to 62 stems. The high mortality after fire and the rarity of sexual regeneration means that the range of this fire-intolerant species is likely to contract under enhanced fire regimes and has a limited capacity to disperse via seed to available fire refugia in the landscape.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:conifer, Athrotaxis, clonal propagation, fire ecology, conservation
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary Biology
Research Field:Biogeography and Phylogeography
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
Author:Rann, KD (Mr Karl Rann)
Author:Bowman, CJW (Mr Clancy Bowman)
Author:Jordan, GJ (Associate Professor Greg Jordan)
Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
ID Code:113151
Year Published:2016
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP120100501)
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2016-12-14
Last Modified:2017-11-06
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