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Title: Ecology of 'Nassella neesiana', Chilean needle grass, in pastures on the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales. II: Seedbank dynamics, seed germination, and seedling recruitment
Contributor(s): Gardener, M R (author); Whalley, Ralph D  (author)orcid ; Sindel, Brian M  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2003
DOI: 10.1071/AR01076
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Abstract: This is the second in a series of papers investigating the ecology of 'Nassella neesiana' (Trin. & Rupr.) Barkworth (Chilean needle grass) in pastures on the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales. The reasons for its success as a pasture weed are discussed. Nassella neesiana has a large and persistent soil seedbank. After 3 years without seed input, the seedbank declined from 4676 to 1323 seeds/m². When an exponential decay curve was fitted to the data it was predicted that the seedbank would reach 10 seeds/m² after 12.4 years. When seed production was large in 1996, 41.6% of seeds produced were incorporated into the seedbank, whereas in 1995 and 1997 the smaller seed production was only sufficient to maintain seedbank numbers. Furthermore, it is likely that the seedbank numbers were underestimated because they did not include basal cleistogenes. In a separate experiment, basal cleistogenes were found to contribute a further 20% to the seedbank. A small proportion of the viable seeds in a natural seedbank emerged from bare ground over 2 years. Seedling survival was high, with 78% of those germinating from bare ground surviving for at least 20 months. Several experiments were designed to investigate the mechanisms of this germination and survival. It appears that the seeds of 'N. neesiana' have an after-ripening requirement of between 3 months and 1 year for maximum germination. Lemma removal from seeds stored for 8 months increased germination from 49 to 82%. The rate of germination and the total percentage of seeds germinating also increased with time of burial in the ground. Of seeds that had been buried for 2 years, 90% germinated after laboratory incubation compared with 48% of seeds stored in the laboratory as controls. Depth of seed burial appears to affect seedling emergence and survival. A smaller number of seedlings emerged from 0–10 mm and they had lower survival than those from seed buried at 10–20 mm.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 54(6), p. 621-626
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Melbourne, Australia
ISSN: 0004-9409
Field of Research (FOR): 050104 Landscape Ecology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO): 960804 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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