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Title: Reproduction in Wild Populations of the Threatened Tree 'Macadamia tetraphylla': Interpopulation Pollen Enriches Fecundity in a Declining Species
Contributor(s): Pisanu, Philip C (author); Gross, Caroline L  (author)orcid ; Flood, Lorelie (author)
Publication Date: 2009
DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7429.2008.00484.x
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Abstract: 'Macadamia tetraphylla' is a subtropical rain forest tree from fragmented lowlands in eastern Australia. Owing to habitat loss and fragmentation, this commercially important species is vulnerable to extinction. Breeding system and fecundity were investigated in nine populations incorporating three habitat types (moderately disturbed, highly disturbed, and intact) to determine if seed set, seed weight, and genetic diversity are compromised by disturbance. Breeding success was also tested using pollen donors from distant (30–100 km), local (2–3 km), neighbor (10–20 m), and near-neighbor (< 10 m) sources. 'Macadamia tetraphylla' is weakly self-compatible but incapable of automatic self-pollination. Across populations, seed to flower ratios were always < 0.1 percent in open-pollinated trees and trees from moderately disturbed habitats had the highest fruit production. Outcross pollen produced more seed per raceme than open-pollinated or self-pollination treatments. Seed set and seed weights were positively influenced by pollen source with local pollen and distant pollen effecting more or heavier seeds. Germination rates and genetic diversity did not vary significantly in seedlings from different pollen sources. Results suggest a pollen source from at least a 2 km distance is an optimal outbreeding distance; however, many wild populations do not have conspecifics at optimal distances owing to habitat fragmentation. Highly disturbed populations are producing seed but the longevity of these sites is threatened by weed invasions. We conclude that small populations in degraded habitats that are at risk of being overlooked should not be ignored but should be a focus for restoration efforts as they are a valuable asset for the conservation of 'M. tetraphylla'.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Biotropica, 41(3), p. 391-398
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Inc
Place of Publication: Malden, United States of America
ISSN: 0006-3606
Field of Research (FOR): 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management
050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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