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Breeding system and ecological traits of the critically endangered endemic plant Limonium barceloi (Gil and Llorens) (Plumbaginaceae)

AuthorsKhan, Zeeba ; Santpere, Gabriel ; Traveset, Anna
Issue DateJun-2012
CitationPlant Systematics and Evolution 298(6): 1101-1110 (2012)
AbstractLimonium barceloi (Plumbaginaceae) is a narrow endemic seasonal halophytic plant, uniquely found in a highly degraded urban wetland in the Bay of Palma Mallorca, located in the northwest Mediterranean. It was awarded critically endangered status in 2004 and is the subject of a recovery plan administered by local government. Despite this, the last ten years have seen a dramatic decline in the population from ca. 3,000 individuals to just ca. 300; reasons for this decline are principally anthropogenic disturbance. Here we present the results of an investigation into some aspects of the reproductive biology of this species in the last remaining in situ population, in order to gain insight into its limited distribution and abundance, and to guide further development of management strategies. Findings indicate that although it provides important floral resources to a number of insect visitors, the plant is an autonomous apomictic that may also be functioning as an obligate asexual reproducer, and low genetic variation is suspected. Germinability is observed to be at ca. 70% and was positively correlated with maternal plant size characteristics. Two seed predators, the moth Goniodoma limoniella (Coleophoridae) and the ant Messor bouvieri (Myrmicinae), were discovered affecting both pre- and post-dispersal seeds. Rate of removal was high, although it is hypothesised that at this time species recruitment is not seed limited, but rather restricted by lack of suitable microsites. The results of this study are used to make recommendations for the species recovery. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00606-012-0619-3
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/s00606-012-0619-3
issn: 0378-2697
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