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Determining plant resilience to temperature stress in NSW alpine Threatened Ecological Communities

Project Member(s): Leigh, A.

Funding or Partner Organisation: NSW Environmental Trusts (NSW Environmental Trust Research Grants)
NSW Environmental Trusts (NSW Environmental Trust Research Grants)

Start year: 2023

Summary: Increased temperature extremes, early snowmelt and warmer summer nights pose a real threat to alpine vegetation communities, which are evolved to distinct environmental conditions. Australia’s alpine region covers <0.02% of this continent, yet contains many threatened ecological communities in NSW (TECs), three critically endangered. Effective conservation of these fragile systems requires knowledge of how alpine plants cope with and recover from temperature stress. This project combines field experiments with genomic analyses to determine the extent of, and drivers for, adaptive capacity of ecologically important plant species in alpine TECs under increasing climatic extremes. Project outcomes will inform adaptive management approaches of these fragile communities, including identification of vulnerable species or populations for early warning monitoring, determination of the presence of refugia of genetic diversity for seed-banking, and identification of potentially resilient variants of ecologically important species suitable for restoration of threatened alpine communities.

FOR Codes: Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation, Plant physiology , Evolutionary ecology, Terrestrial biodiversity, Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences