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Conservation of native plant species from Sardinia (Italy)

Plant conservation of the native species from Sardinia through seed banking and research supporting their ex situ and in situ conservation

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G Fenu, Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity, Sardinia

Lamyropsis microcephala (Asteraceae) found only in Sardinia (Italy) and threatened by habitat loss (Image: G. Fenu, Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity)

Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily), occupying an area of 24,090 square km and comprising a flora of 2,407 species. The isolation and the high geological diversity in this island have created a wide range of habitats with high level of endemism (347 plant species), especially on the Gennargentu, Supramonte and Sulcis-Iglesiente Mountains.

At the beginning of September 2006 a Memorandum of Collaboration was signed between the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (CCB), in the Department of Botany (now included in the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences) at the University of Cagliari aiming to contribute to the plant conservation of the island.

The collaboration encompasses seed collecting, conservation, training and research on seed biology and germination ecophysiology and plant demography of Sardinian native plant species.

All targeted species are representative of the Mediterranean flora and are prioritized according to their conservation importance and phytogeographical interest.

The project has contributed so far around 100 species to the Millennium Seed Bank targets and eight publications, including a conservation assessment on Lamyropsis microcephala, to the MSB research target. It is planned to continue with the ex situ conservation programme and to expand the research into germination ecophysiology and plant demography of Sardinian native plant species.

Key papers published since 2006

  • Mattana E., Pritchard H.W., Porceddu M., Stuppy W.H., Bacchetta G. 2011 - Interchangeable effects of Gibberellic acid and temperature on embryo growth, seed germination and epicotyl emergence in Ribes multiflorum subsp. sandalioticum (Grossulariaceae). Plant Biology, in press.
  • Mattana E., Daws M.I., Fenu G., Bacchetta G., 2011 - Adaptation to habitat in Aquilegia species endemic to Sardinia (Italy): seed dispersal, germination and persistence in the soil. Plant Biosystems, 145: in press.
  • Mattana E., Daws M.I., Bacchetta G., 2010, Comparative germination ecology of the endemic Centranthus amazonum (Valerianaceae) and its widespread congener Centranthus ruber. Plant Species Biology, 25(3): 165-172.
  • Mattana E., Daws M.I., Fenu G., Bacchetta G., 2010 - Ecological and morphological seed traits of Polygala sardoa and P. sinisica: A comparative study on two endemic species of Sardinia. Flora, 205: 825-831
  • Mattana E., Daws M.I., Bacchetta G., 2009 - Seed dormancy and germination ecology of Lamyropsis microcephala: a mountain endemic species of Sardinia (Italy). Seed Science and Technology, 37(2): 491-497

Project partners and collaborators

Italy

Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (CCB), Department of Life and Environmental Sciences,University of Cagliari

Annex material

Conferences and workshops

  • Salt Lake City, Utah (U.S.), 20-24 June 2010 - Seed ecology III: Third International Society for Seed Science meeting on Seeds and the Environment: Seeds and change: Mattana E., Pritchard H.W., Porceddu M., Bacchetta G. - Morphophysiological seed dormancy in Ribes multiflorum subsp. sandalioticum is highly sensitive to warm followed by cold temperatures. [poster]
  • Catania, Italy, 11-13 October 2009 - La conservazione ex situ ed in situ ed il Countdown 2010: Ulian T., Mattana E., Bacchetta G., Daws M.I., Thanos C.A., Gorian F., Pritchard H.W. - Conservation of Mediterranean plants and the Millennium Seed Bank Project [oral communication]
  • London, U.K., 12-16 October, 2009 - Plant conservation for the next decade: a celebration of Kew’s 250th anniversary: Bacchetta G., Fenu G., Mattana E. - Prioritizing plant conservation measures at local level: the conservation project of the most threatened exclusive endemic species of Sardinia. [poster].
  • Cagliari, Italy, 22-24 June 2009 – Biodiversity Hotspots in the Mediterrranean Area: Ulian T., Mattana E., Daws M.I., Bacchetta G., Pritchard H.W. – Reproductive biology, seed ecophysiology and conservation of Mediterranean plants in a changing climate. [oral communication and publication]
  • Wakehurst Place and University of Sussex, U.K., 22-26 September, 2008 – IUFRO Tree Seeds 2008: Trees, seeds and changing climate: Mattana E., Daws M.I. Bacchetta G. – Germination ecology of Rhamnus persicifolia Moris, an endemic tree species of Sardinia (Italy). [poster]
  • Olzstyn, Poland, 6-11 July, 2008 – 9th ISSS Conference on Seed Biology: Mattana E., Daws M.I., Bacchetta G. – Comparative germination ecology of Centranthus amazonum, a narrow endemic species of Sardinia (Italy). [poster]
  • London, UK, 2-5 september 2008, Annual Meeting British Ecological Society, Imperial College: Fenu G., Ulian T., Bacchetta G. – Population status of Anchusa littorea. A Critically Endangered species of Sardinia (Italy). [poster]