Flooding tolerance of critical shrub species

This research was led by Georgie Zacks during her honours year. Georgie examined the waterlogging tolerance of two ecologically important woody shrub species (Leptospermum lanigerum and Melaleuca squarrosa), and specifically how flooding can affect these species at different life history stages. Using glasshouse experiments we examined how depth and duration of flooding can affect the earliest life history stages (germination and early establishment), and conducted field surveys within Yellingbo to determine the effect of flooding regime on shrub condition and seed viability. Key findings were that each life history stage responds differently to flooding, and that Leptospermum lanigerum is more flood tolerant than Melaleuca squarrosa. For both species, however, the early life history stages were most affected by flooding.

georgie-in-field

Georgie using a soil augur to measure depth to water table to relate shrub condition to flooding regime – a messy job at times!

This information has helped improve approaches to restoring habitat for the Helmeted Honeyeaters and Leadbeater’s Possums by directing planting efforts within Yellingbo and providing further evidence that water regime is an important primary ecological filter controlling community assembly in riparian areas.

Please contact Georgina Zacks for further information – georgina.zacks@gmail.com