Genetic assessment of diversity and structure of Sweet Quandong

Project name: A genetic assessment of diversity and structure among remnant stands of Sweet Quandong (Santalum acuminatum, Santalaceae): the implications for seed sourcing

Careful selection of optimal seed provenance and seed quality greatly influences the success of plant restoration projects.

The genetic assessment of seed sources can assist land managers to develop appropriate seed sourcing strategies in which genetic diversity is maximised and balanced against local adaptation concerns.

In this project, genetic techniques (microsatellite loci) were used to characterise 14 populations of Santalum acuminatum across northern Victoria and southern NSW. Only 30 different genotypes were identified with extensive clonality (genetically identical individuals) within populations but no genetic structure among populations.

The presence of three alleles at multiple loci in some genotypes and size comparison of stomatal length suggested a mix of diploid and triploid populations in the landscape.

We recommend that seed for restoration projects should be collected from multiple populations (to ensure seeds are genetically diverse) and could be moved across the study area without compromising restoration success so long as mixing of ploidy is avoided.

Project partners

  • Jeremy Benwell-Clarke 2018. Widespread clonality in remnant Sweet Quandong (Santalum acuminatum (R.Br.) A.DC.) (Santalaceae) and the implications for seed sourcing. Honours Thesis, La Trobe University.