Jul 26, 2016
Fontainea Rostrata is a medium sized shrub that is listed as vulnerable under the EPBC Act. Habitat loss and fragmentation has resulted in this shrub’s range being increasingly restricted. BMRG has partnered with the University of the Sunshine Coast on a unique conservation project for this species that aims to assist migration and reintroduction into new areas.
To best assure the success of assisted migration and reintroduction, work was undertaken to understand the size and structure, genetic diversity and variation, current suitable habitat and the availability of suitable future habitat.
Genetic diversity is an important consideration when planning revegation works with individual at risk species. If founder plants are sourced from small, isolated populations, genetic bottlenecks can occur. Equally, mixing genetically dissimilar founder stock can also alter the inter-population gene flow affecting population viability.
On-ground surveys were completed on 26 known sites in the Tinana catchment area and leaf and cutting samples were taken from 211 individual shrubs.
A study of the genetic make up of the samples revealed a uniform genetic profile which indicates that rather than relocation to new sites, a genetic rescue program be undertaken by planting the 200 seedlings back into existing populations to increase local genetic diversity and improve reproductive success.