[Truncated abstract] Eucalyptus occidentalis, a timber species from south Western Australia, is highly salt and waterlogging tolerant. Screening identified genotypes tolerant of high salt concentrations and waterlogging. Tolerance at provenance, family and individual level, and how phenotypic performance under salt and waterlogging was inherited was explored to provide a breeding population. Salt and/or waterlogged screening was carried out under controlled conditions up to extreme salt levels to determine tolerance between genotypes. This tank method was shown to produce repeatable results. Seedlings of 30 families from 9 provenances were used for screening. At low salt concentration (up to 300 mM NaCl), differentiation occurred for some traits but in general there was only a slight reduction in growth under salt, and waterlogging alone was not detrimental. At high salt concentration (550 mM) differentiation occurred among genotypes for all traits. Equivalent genotypes were also planted in field trials at three sites, two with medium (583 - 847 mm) and one with low rainfall (372 - 469 mm), in southern Western Australia. Survival was low (89% after 33 months in saline fields in Sandalwindy (96 - 976 mSm-1) and Roberts (88 - 1424 mSm-1). Some families were similarly in high rank for height under saline conditions in controlled and field trials. Height had the highest narrow-sense heritability value, especially under controlled saltwaterlogging (0.85) treatment and 20% selection enabled a gain of 8-14% under controlled conditions and in the field. Leaf production under salt was not an inherited trait. Systems were developed to hasten deployment of selected material. Extended daylength (16 h) and paclobutrazol (1 mg a.i/mm stem circumference) stimulated flowering in 2 year-old plants. Clonal propagation was possible. Grafting success varied from 0-100% depending on scion/rootstock provenances. ... There was only a slight reduction in heterozygosity from species level to provenance and family levels, and two superior genotypes maintained high diversity. v Crossing was possible using one stop pollination of cut immature styles and capsule retention varied from 0-34% and germination rate from 2-96%. Genetic distance between parents was correlated with seed set and offspring fitness. Wider genetic distances increased capsule retention, seed germination and seedling survival. Under 500 mM salt-waterlogging, offspring heights were similar when parental genetic distances were similar. High heritability value for height from ANOVA-REML parental screening was confirmed using parent-offspring regression. Screened superior genotypes, which withstood very high salt concentration, provide a breeding population for further breeding and for plantations under saline regions in low-medium rainfall areas in Western Australia and other parts of the world. These trees provide an economic return in areas where no other plants may survive and an environmental service in potentially reducing waterlogging, salinity and its spread.
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2009|