Identification of physical characteristics of wetland and floodplain plants that facilitate dispersal

Understanding the way in which managed flow regimes and infrastructure alters or can facilitate the movement of aquatic and floodplain plant species will be key to managing for dispersal. By understanding which species are likely to move by water will allow management to better understand the likely outcomes of a particular watering event. However there is only limited knowledge of the physical characteristic of wetland and floodplain plant seeds that facilitate dispersal.  Knowledge of these physical characteristics will provide information of potential methods of dispersal.  This project will use seeds from plant species that have been collected as part of MDFRC plant surveys undertaken by staff Mildura and Wodonga to (i) photograph and describe the physical characteristics of seed; (ii) obtain estimates of the weight of seeds, and (iii) undertake experiments to estimate of the duration that seeds of individual species float.

Given the large number of plants that exist within the existing collection, descriptions will initially be undertaken on the more common species from which a large number of seeds should be available.  If time permits less common species will be incorporated.

Location Wodonga
Supervisors Daryl Nielsen, Nathan Ning, Rochelle Petrie and Rebecca Durant
Student Donna Sparkes
Duration 10 weeks (commencing 1 Dec 2014)
Expected outcome Final Report and Seminar