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Habitat Preferences of the Australian Endangered Samphire Tecticornia flabelliformis

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Abstract:

Australia's only federally listed endangered samphire, the fan or bead samphire Tecticornia flabelliformis (Paul G. Wilson) K.A.Sheph. & Paul G.Wilson, is a small deciduous forb up to twenty centimetres high that is generally found growing in monospecific patches on clay pans or sabkhas directly behind coastal barrier dunes or on salt lakes further inland. The habitat requirements that control the distribution of fan samphires are poorly understood.

During September 2004, thirty-six soil samples were collected from within and surrounding three stands of fan samphires near Gulf St Vincent, South Australia. Analysis of the samples showed that pH had the strongest association with the presence of fan samphires, with field moist chlorinity also strongly associated. Oven dried chlorinity and percentage moisture were not significantly different between sites with fan samphires and those sites without, although the fan samphires occurred on soils with a wider range for these parameters than the surrounding areas displayed.

Soil samples were also analysed for soil particle size. The species appears to prefer locations where the 'within site' mean clay content is between 31% and 37%. Field observations of a light-coloured subsurface hard pan under fan samphire stands were noted.

Keywords: CHENOPODIACEAE; CHLORINITY; ECOLOGICAL PREFERENCES; PH; SALICORNIEAE; SALT LAKES; SAMPHIRES; SOIL CHEMISTRY; TECTICORNIA

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2009

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  • In 2004, the South Australian Museum and the Royal Society of South Australia became partners in Southern Scientific Press. This led to the amalgamation of their two professional journals. The Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia now incorporates the Records of the South Australian Museum.
    Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia deals with natural history relating to South Australia
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