An evaluation of the genetic structure of seed sources and the maintenance of genetic diversity during establishment of two yellow box (Eucalyptus melliodora) seed-production areas Academic Article uri icon


  • Vegetation clearing and land-use change have depleted many natural plant communities to the point where restoration is required. A major impediment to the success of rebuilding complex vegetation communities is having regular access to sufficient quantities of high-quality seed. Seed-production areas (SPAs) can help generate this seed, but these must be underpinned by a broad genetic base to maximise the evolutionary potential of restored populations. However, genetic bottlenecks can occur at the collection, establishment and production stages in SPAs, requiring genetic evaluation. This is especially relevant for species that may take many years before a return on SPA investment is realised. Two recently established yellow box (Eucalyptus melliodora A.Cunn. ex Schauer, Myrtaceae) SPAs were evaluated to determine whether genetic bottlenecks had occurred between seed collection and SPA establishment. No evidence was found to suggest that a significant loss of genetic diversity had occurred at this stage, although there was a significant difference in diversity between the two SPAs. Complex population genetic structure was also observed in the seed used to source the SPAs, with up to eight groups identified. Plant survival in the SPAs was influenced by seed collection location but not by SPA location and was not associated with genetic diversity. There were also no associations between genetic diversity and plant growth. These data highlighted the importance of chance events when establishing SPAs and indicated that the two yellow box SPAs are likely to provide genetically diverse seed sources for future restoration projects, especially by pooling seed from both SPAs.

publication date

  • 2015