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Effects of salinity on the seedling survival of eight native species from south-western Australia

Ingram, M. (2011) Effects of salinity on the seedling survival of eight native species from south-western Australia. In: Ecological Society of Australia, 2011 Annual conference, 21 - 25 November, Hobart, Australia.


Survival of a plant through its seedling stage is a major factor limiting the establishment of mature plants under saline conditions. In a field trial, conducted in experimental catchments, in the south west of Western Australia, we found changes in riparian plant species composition and diversity along a salinity gradient. To assess this impact further, we investigated the survival response of eight native seedlings found in these catchments to various levels of salt in a laboratory trial. Seedlings of 6 months maturity were exposed to salt concentrations (a salt solution of Sodium (Na), Magnesium (Mg) and Calcium (Ca) was used) of 0, 50, 100 and 200mM (equivalent to soil salinities of 0.01, 4.57, 9.13 and 18.3 dS/m). Salinity was gradually increased by 50mM per week until final concentration was reached, after which, the test was maintained for 60 days or until a 50% death rate was reached. Of the eight species tested, three species did not show a diminishing survival rate, with Hakea varia and Astartea fascicularis maintaining a 100% survival rate at all salinities tested. Dry plant and dry root mass diminished as salinity increased for all species except Xanthorrhoea preissii.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
Notes: Poster
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