Fire response within the family Proteaceae: a comparison of plants desiplaying the seeder and resprouter mode of recovery

Barbara Jane Bowen

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    [Truncated] Fire plays a major role in the structure and maintenance of flora within natural ecosystems of Western Australia. The two main strategies utilized by plants from the family Proteaceae to regenerate after fire are that of the obligate seeder (succumbing to fire and recruiting from seed-banks) and the resprouter (surviving the fires and regenerating shoots from protected below- or above-ground buds). A detailed study was carried out on eight closely related, cohabiting species of Proteaceae (four resprouters and four seeders) which had germinated from seed six months prior to the commencement of the study. Plants displaying the two response modes were compared in terms of the patterns of growth, biomass allocation and deployment and storage of nutrients. The resprouter species had slower growth rates, a larger proportion of their biomass below ground and substantially greater concentrations of starch stored in their roots than the seeder species. However, no consistent differences were found between the two strategies in terms of concentrations of C, N, P, Ca, Mg and K in shoots and roots, rates of root respiration, proportion of biomass between stems and leaves and ratios of biomass increment to standing leaf biomass. Using this information models were constructed epitomizing the differences in juvenile behaviour between the two strategies and these differences were discussed in relation to the fire responses of the adult plants.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • The University of Western Australia
    Publication statusUnpublished - 1991

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