Australian Journal of Botany (AUST J BOT )

Publisher: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (Australia); Australian National Research Council; Australian Academy of Science, CSIRO Publishing


The Australian Journal of Botany is an international journal for publication of original research in plant science. Work on all plant groups, including fossil plants, is published. The journal publishes in the areas of: ecology and ecophysiology; conservation biology and biodiversity; forest biology and management; cell and molecular biology; paleobotany; reproductive biology and genetics; mycology and pathology; and structure and development.

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  • Website
    Australian Journal of Botany website
  • Other titles
    Australian journal of botany, AJB
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    Government publication, National government publication, Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Journal / Magazine / Newspaper, Internet Resource

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CSIRO Publishing

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    • Author can archive a post-print version
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    • On author's personal repository or institutional repository
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    ​ green

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Freshwater temporary wetlands are a little-studied ecosystem world-wide. They have been recognised as critically endangered in south east Australia under Australian biodiversity conservation legislation. However, little has been recorded about their hydrology, functioning or biodiversity values; i.e. the factors that make them intrinsically ‘swampy’. In this paper we develop a simple threshold model of wetland hydrology based on historical rainfall records and calculated evaporation records matched to records and recollections of the owners of swamps, and document water plant and microalgal species richness. The model indicates that swamps were inundated to at least 10 cm depth in an average of 6.3 years per decade for most of the 20th century. The average dry time between inundations was 1.27 years (maximum of 4.5 years). Since 1998 the frequency of inundation appears to have decreased, and the average dry times have increased. Despite, or because of, their temporary nature, these swamps have high biodiversity values among the vegetation and the microalgae, more than has been recorded for near-by permanent wetlands. There is no evidence that a drier and warmer climate will impact negatively on biodiversity values, however land management is likely to be important for maintaining these systems as the climate changes.
    Australian Journal of Botany 12/2014; 62:469-480.
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this work was to analyze the vegetation dynamics of a xeric serpentine savanna located in the Mid-Atlantic, USA. We employed vegetation surveys of thirty-two, 10 x 15 m quadrats to obtain woody species composition, density, basal area, and developed a spatial physiochemical dataset of substrate geochemistry to independently summarize the data using regression and ordination techniques. This information was interpreted alongside historical, dendrochronologic and soil stable carbon isotopic data to evaluate successional dynamics. Comparisons among geologic, pedologic, and vegetation environmental drivers indicate broad correlations across an environmental gradient corresponding to a grassland to forest transition. The woodland communities appear to be part of a complex soil moisture/chemistry gradient that affects the extent, density, basal area, and species composition of these communities. Over the gradient there is an increase in alpha diversity, a decrease in the density of xeric and invasive species, and an increase in stem density of more mesic species. Dendrochronology suggests poor recruitment of xeric species and concomitant increase in more mesic species. The data indicate that former C4 dominated grasslands were initially invaded by conifers and are now experiencing mesophication with growing dominance by Acer, Nyssa, and more mesic Quercus and Fagus species.
    Australian Journal of Botany 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The carnivorous plant genus Utricularia comprises three monophyletic subgenera, Polypompholyx, Bivalvaria, and Utricularia; however, all Utricularia species produce sophisticated suction traps. Most studies on the interactions between this genus and algae were performed on the derived aquatic bladderworts from Utricularia subgenus Utricularia, section Utricularia, thus our knowledge about phytotelmata in bladderworts is still limited. The main aim of our study was to examine the composition of algae and prey in phytotelmata of Utricularia volubilis R.Br., the Australian species from subgenus Polypompholyx, that has different construction of the trap door and trigger mechanism than species studied so far within the context of trapped organisms. We examined the contents of traps collected at a natural site in Western Australia, and from cultivated material grown in a botanical garden. The traps from the natural site in Australia contained predominantly diatoms, mainly of the genus Frustulia. Young traps from the botanical garden contained mainly diatoms, xanthophytes and green algae, while in the older traps, cyanobacteria prevailed. In general these observations were in agreement with the data obtained for aquatic bladderworts from section Utricularia, thus suggesting that the type of trigger mechanism has a minor influence on the composition of the trapped algae and prey.
    Australian Journal of Botany 10/2014;
  • Australian Journal of Botany 05/2014; 62(2):85.
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    ABSTRACT: We studied the evolutionary processes shaping the genetic diversity in the naturally fragmented Eucalyptus cordata, a rare homoblastic tree endemic to the island of Tasmania. A genome-wide scan showed that E. cordata and the endangered heteroblastic E. morrisbyi were closely related, suggesting a neotenous origin of E. cordata from an endemic heteroblastic ancestor. Bayesian cluster analysis based on nuclear microsatellites assayed in 567 E. cordata and E. morrisbyi individuals revealed five genetic clusters. Two clusters comprised populations that correspond to putative ancestral gene pools linking E. cordata and E. morrisbyi. Another cluster included populations that transgressed the drowned Derwent River valley, suggestive of a wider glacial distribution. However, the majority of individuals occurred in the two genetic clusters distributed in the south-west and north-east of the range of E. cordata. The elevated genetic diversity in populations comprising these clusters suggests that they represent two recently fragmented cores of the distribution. Genetic evidence suggests that the newly described, localised E. cordata subspecies quadrangulosa has been recently selected from within the morphologically diverse, south-western cluster. We argue that multiple phases of isolation and drift have led to the contemporary pattern of molecular variation and the scattering of relictual and more recently derived populations across the species distribution.
    Australian Journal of Botany 05/2014; 62(2):114-131.
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    ABSTRACT: Genetically controlled asynchrony in anthesis is an effective barrier to gene flow between planted and native forests. We investigated the degree of genetically controlled variation in the timing of key floral developmental stages in a major plantation species in subtropical Australia, Corymbia citriodora subsp. variegata K.D. Hill and L.A.S Johnson, and its relative C. maculata K.D. Hill and L.A.S. Johnson. Flowering observations were made in a common garden planting at Bonalbo in northern NSW in spring on 1855 trees from eight regions over three consecutive years, and monthly on a subset of 208 trees for 12 months. Peak anthesis time was stable over years and observations from translocated trees tended to be congruent with the observations in native stands, suggesting strong genetic control of anthesis time. A cluster of early flowering provenances was identified from the north-east of the Great Dividing Range. The recognition of a distinct flowering race from this region accorded well with earlier evidence of adaptive differentiation of populations from this region and geographically-structured genetic groupings in Corymbia C. citriodora subsp. variegata. The early flowering northern race was more fecund, probably associated with its disease tolerance and greater vigour. Bud abundance fluctuated extensively at the regional level across three 3 years suggesting bud abundance was more environmentally labile than timing of anthesis. Overall the level of flowering in the planted stand (age 12 years) was low (8 to– 12% of assessed trees with open flowers), and was far lower than in nearby native stands. Low levels of flowering and asynchrony in peak anthesis between flowering races of C. citriodora subsp. variegata may partially mitigate a high likelihood of gene flow where the northern race is planted in the south of the species range neighbouring native stands.
    Australian Journal of Botany 04/2014; 62(1):22-35.
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    ABSTRACT: Background and Aims Plant breeding systems can have a profound effect on a species ability to persist, colonize new areas and combat environmental conditions. Determining the breeding systems in rare and common congeners may shed light on factors influencing rarity. Endemic to Australia, Davidsonia comprises three species of rainforest trees. The two sympatric, subtropical species, Davidsonia jerseyana and D. johnsonii, are endangered while the tropical D. pruriens is widespread. Other than exclusive clonality in D. johnsonii, the reproductive systems in the genus are unknown. In this study the breeding systems in D. jerseyana and D. pruriens were investigated, fecundity measured, and the relationship between reproductive traits and rarity explored. Methods Progeny arrays from open-pollinated trees were genotyped using microsatellite markers and seeds were examined for polyembryony. Segregation patterns were analysed using models devised for different breeding systems and ploidy levels. Reproductive success under glasshouse conditions was compared between species and measured by the proportion of viable seeds, germination rate, and seedling growth and survival over 12 months. Key results The endangered D. jerseyana appears to be a predominantly selfing diploid with high seed viability and seedling survival. In the widespread D. pruriens, polyembryony was common and 89% of the progeny were identical to the heterozygous maternal parent, implying likely apomixis with sexual progeny fitting a diploid segregation pattern. Seed viability and seedling survival were significantly lower compared to D. jerseyana although survival was higher from D. pruriens polyembryonic compared to monoembryonic seed. Conclusions The endangered D. jerseyana has high fecundity which indicates a lack of inbreeding depression and also suggests D. jerseyana would be less likely to be endangered than the less fecund D. pruriens. This raises the possibility that polyembryony and likely apomixis may provide a reproductive advantage to D. pruriens which could otherwise share rarity with its congeners.
    Australian Journal of Botany 01/2014; in press(17 Feb 2014 conditional acceptance Apr 2014 Accepted 12 Sept 2014).
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    ABSTRACT: Although it is well documented that access to groundwater can help plants survive drought in arid and semiarid areas, there have been few studies in mesic environments that have evaluated variation of vegetation characteristics across a naturally occurring gradient in depth-to-groundwater (DGW). The aim of this study was to determine whether differences in groundwater depth influence structural attributes and productivity of remnant woodlands in south-eastern Australia. The study area was located in the Kangaloon bore-field area of New South Wales, where DGW varies from 2.4 m to 37.5 m and rainfall is plentiful. We examined structural (leaf-area index, basal area, stem density, tree height, Huber value (HV) and aboveground biomass) and functional (aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP)) attributes of seven woodland sites differing in DGW. We also used ∂13C analysis of sapwood across six sites, along with observed non-linear changes in structural attributes, to infer groundwater use by trees. Significant differences in structural attributes and ANPP were observed across sites. The three shallowest sites with 2.4 m, 4.3 m and 5.5 m DWG had significantly larger aboveground biomass and ANPP than did the four deepest sites (DGW ≥9.8 m). Across all attributes (except HV in the summer, where the mean values were significantly larger at sites where DGW was 5.5 m or less and across the four deeper sites (DGW ≥9.8 m), there were no differences in these three structural traits, nor in ANPP. Despite finding no significant differences in HV across sites in the summer, in winter, the two deepest sites had a significantly larger HV than did the two shallowest sites. Significant increases in ∂13C of sapwood occurred across five of the six sites, consistent with increasing water-use efficiency as DGW increased, reflecting the declining availability of groundwater with increasing DGW. This study has demonstrated that even in a mesic environment, putative access to groundwater can have important impacts on structural and functional traits of trees and, consequently, on woodland productivity.
    Australian Journal of Botany 01/2014; 62(5):428-437.
  • J. Anne Cochrane, Gemma L. Hoyle, Colin J. Yates, Jeff Wood, Adrienne B. Nicotra
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    ABSTRACT: Given the predicted changes in rainfall patterns for many Mediterranean climate regions, identifying seed tolerance to moisture stress in the earliest phase of plant development is an important consideration for species conservation, management and restoration. Here, we used polyethylene glycol (PEG 8000) to induce plant water deficit similar to drought stress in a field situation. Seeds of four Western Australia Banksia R.Br. (Proteaceae) species were incubated at seven levels of moisture potential (0 to 1.5 MPa) and three constant temperatures (10 C, 15 C and 20 C). In the absence of moisture stress, germination was uniformly high, but increasing drought stress led to reduced and delayed germination in all species. Overall, the threshold moisture potential value for a significant decline, and delay, in germination was –0.25 MPa. Results suggested that one species (B. coccinea) is likely to be most vulnerable to germination failure under predicted changes in rainfall patterns, whereas another (B. media) is likely to be less vulnerable. There was significant variation in population response to drought stress. However, this variation could not be explained by rainfall across species distributions. We discuss the PEG approach for assessing seed sensitivity to moisture stress, particularly in the context of shifting rainfall under climate change.
    Australian Journal of Botany 01/2014; 62:481-489.
  • Alison Hewitt, Paul Holford, Adrian Renshaw, Anthony Haigh, E Charles Morris
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    ABSTRACT: Melaleuca deanei F.Muell. is listed under state and national protection legislation occurring as small, disjunct populations restricted to the Central Coast botanical district of New South Wales. This paper reports on the population structure, reproductive output and phenology of large and small field populations of M. deanei, compared with three common congeneric species in the area, namely, Melaleuca nodosa (Sol. ex Gaertn.) Sm., Melaleuca thymifolia Sm. and Melaleuca styphelioides Sm. Both M. deanei and M. styphelioides had few seedlings per population at the sites studied. Results indicated that seedling recruitment is rare and would appear to require specific conditions. In addition, M. deanei had a low incidence of flowering within the small populations, significantly fewer fruiting plants per population and significantly lower numbers of viable seeds per square metre, most likely compounding its limited recruitment. Flowering, when it occurred in M. deanei, was from mid to late October through to late November–early December with increased flowering in response to fire and along road edges. Further study is needed to determine reproductive success at the individual-plant level, the breeding system and recruitment requirements of these species.
    Australian Journal of Botany 01/2014; 62(4):286-304.
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    ABSTRACT: Limited success of restoring framework banksia-woodland species has been attributed to the failure of seedlings to establish deep root systems before the onset of the summer drought. The present glasshouse study investigated how optimising nutrient application during nursery production may increase new-root production after outplanting. Two experimental streams were established to (1) optimise nutrient application rates during nursery production and (2) utilise nutrient-loading techniques to improve root production of Banksia menziesii R.Br., Banksia attenuata R.Br. and Eucalyptus todtiana F.Muell after outplanting. Optimal nutrient-application rates were determined by measuring plant growth and internal nutrient responses to eight application levels of slow-release fertiliser (0–18 kg m–3, nitrogen (N) : phosphorus (P) : potassium (K) = 17 : 1.6 : 8.7). Nutrient-loading treatments utilised seedlings that had been grown under common industry fertiliser conditions (3 kg m–3 native Osmocote, N : P : K = 17 : 1.6 : 8.7) supplied with ‘low’ or ‘high’ loading doses of liquid Thrive continuously over 6 weeks, immediately before outplanting. Seedlings from both experiments were then outplanted to 1-m-deep poly-pipe tubes containing habitat soil. After 12 weeks, plants were harvested and new-root production and shoot growth were measured. Optimal concentrations of slow-release fertiliser for maximum outplanting success as indicated by increased root investment (root : shoot ratio and new-root production) were 8–12 kg m–3 for all species. Nutrient loading increased N and P concentrations of plants by up to 80% and 127%, respectively, by luxury nutrient consumption, and after planting, nutrient-loaded seedlings produced 1.5-fold the biomass of conventionally fertilised seedlings, this being the result of greater root productivity. In conclusion, optimising nursery nutrient regimes for framework species may increase root-growth potential, assisting in improving plant establishment in restoration programs.
    Australian Journal of Botany 01/2014; 61(8):600-610.
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract. The Western Australian plant family Ecdeiocoleaceae includes only three species but DNA data show them as the closest living sister-group of the Poaceae. Ecdeiocoleaceae are wind-pollinated and monoecious; spikes produce separate zones of pistillate and staminate flowers, in acropetal succession. Spikes of Ecdeiocolea have up to 45 flowers, with a sequence of zones up the spike, commonly pistillate–staminate–pistillate–staminate–pistillate, with potentially high fruit set in both of the lower pistillate zones. Rainfall in their habitats in semiarid south-western Australia is highly variable and shorter spikes with fewer zones are formed in drought conditions. Georgeantha, with fewer flowers per spike, shows the same general pattern but fewer switches. Synchrony of zonal flowering gives an effective barrier to self-pollination, a form of ‘temporal dioecy’. All spikes on many stems of a plant flower with the conspicuous white stigmas of a pistillate zone or, at a different time, all with the yellow anthers of a staminate zone. Such synchrony is between the many spikes on the plant, not between plants in a population. Features of vegetative and flowering structures and habitat are briefly mentioned.
    Australian Journal of Botany 01/2014; 62:391-402.