Evidence for the equal resilience of Triodia spp. (Poaceae), from different functional groups, to frequent fire dating back to the late Pleistocene.

Graeme Armstrong

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Species with different regenerative responses to fire are hypothesised to coexist by utilising the different temporal and spatial niche opportunities created by the stochasticity of the fire regime. This is strongly supported by observations of instability of species' presence and abundance at the local scale while these are stable at the community scale. However, observations of species coexistence in fire-prone communities are limited to several decades only. To improve the robustness of this hypothesis, coalescent analysis, using chloroplast microsatellites, was undertaken on three sympatric species of Triodia from different functional groups in the fire-prone Kimberley region of Western Australia. The results inferred that T. bitextura, an obligate resprouter, Triodia sp., an obligate seeder, and T. epactia, a facultative resprouter, had mean Tmrca values of 65k, 40k and 111k generations, respectively. Using a mutation rate of 3.2 × 10−5 and a generation time of 5 years gave Tmrca values of 436k, 203k and 556 k years, respectively. These results provide evidence for the coexistence of these species to the same fire regime dating back to the late Pleistocene. It also demonstrates the long-term resilience of an obligate seeder, Triodia sp., in a frequently burnt environment at the community scale.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)558-564
    Number of pages7
    JournalHeredity
    Volume107
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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