Conservation of Fontainea rostrata in the Tinana Creek Catchment
Fontainea rostrata is a small tree or medium sized shrub that is listed as vulnerable under the EPBC Act. Habitat loss and fragmentation has resulted in its 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 long term survival in known populations and complete reintroduction into new locations.
To best assure the success of the program, work was undertaken to understand the distribution of the species, population size, genetic diversity and structure, current suitable habitat and the availability of suitable future habitat.
Genetic diversity is an important consideration when planning revegetation works for at risk species. For example, if founder plants are sourced from small, isolated populations, genetic bottlenecks can occur. Equally, mixing genetically dissimilar founder stock can also alter population dynamics and may affect long-term population viability.
On-ground surveys were completed at 26 sites with suitable F. rostrata habitat in the Tinana Creek catchment area, 10 of which were found to contain populations of the species. Leaf samples from 211 individual plants and stem cuttings from a sub-set of these plants were taken for DNA extraction and vegetative propagation, respectively.
Vegetative propagation successfully generated nearly 200 seedlings. Genetic analysis revealed low levels of genetic diversity and a uniform genetic profile across the species range, indicating that implementation of a genetic rescue program be initiated by planting the 200 seedlings into existing populations to increase local genetic diversity and improve reproductive success.
Image courtesy of Glenn Leiper.
Key ContactPh: 4181 2999