Population variation for seed and seedling traits along a gradient: assessing plant species persistence in South West Western Australia under a changing climate.

Banksia flowers

Description

Examining the influence of projected climate change on seed and seedling traits in four seeder Banksia species in the South West Western Australia

This project will investigate whether seed-based plant life history traits of four SWWA Banksia species across their geographic distribution differ predictably along climate gradients; whether there is strong local adaptation in these traits along the gradient; and whether plasticity in these traits varies predictably along the gradient and if so, determine whether these responses are similar to those demonstrated by species from other Mediterranean-type climates. A temperature gradient plate and germination incubators will be used to assess seed response to a range of temperatures and moisture potentials for germination in the laboratory. Field climate manipulations will employ rainout shelters and open top chambers to test seed and seedling response to heat and drought stress. A glasshouse experiment will assess phenotypic plasticity in heat and drought tolerance in seedlings across maternal lines. The expected outcomes of these investigations will be the identification of potential for range expansion/contraction to better forecast persistence or localised population extinction and the development of a seed-based predictive tool to detect potentially climate-vulnerable species and improve management efficiency for prioritising conservation actions, influencing choice of populations and sites for species reintroductions and restoration. The project will also make a contribution to a global understanding of the effects of climate warming on fire-prone Mediterranean-type ecosystems.

For more on this topic see:

  • Cochrane, J. A., C. Yates, G. L. Hoyle and A. B. Nicotra (2014). "Will among-population variation in seed traits improve the chance of species persistence under climate change? ." Global Ecology and Biogeography in press.
  • Cochrane, J. A., C. Yates, G. L. Hoyle and A. B. Nicotra (2014). "Climate warming delays and decreases seedling emergence in a Mediterranean ecosystem." Oikos.
  • Cochrane, J. A., C. Yates, G. L. Hoyle and A. B. Nicotra (2014). "Among-population variation in seed traits: an overlooked advantage for species persistence under climate change? ." Global Ecology and Biogeography in press.
  • Cochrane, J. A., G. L. Hoyle, C. J. Yates, J. Wood and A. B. Nicotra (2014). "Predicting the impact of increasing temperatures on seed germination among populations of Western Australian Banksia (Proteaceae) " Seed Science Research.
  • Cochrane A, Daws MI, Hay FR (2011) Seed-based approach for identifying flora at risk from climate warming. Austral Ecology, no-no.

Partnerships

This project is co-supervised by Adrienne Nicotra and Gemma Hoyle at the ANU and Colin Yates at the Dept of Environment and Conservation in WA.

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Updated:  27 May 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director RSB/Page Contact:  Webmaster RSB