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Yellow Box citizen science project - The results!

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The results of a citizen science project researching the genetics of Yellow Box (Eucalyptus melliodora) have recently been released, and provide a fascinating historical insight into this wonderful tree species, while also predicting some challenges for Yellow Box over the next few decades.

The Yellow Box citizen science project explored genetic diversity and population genetic structure in this iconic species across its range. The results showed that levels of genetic diversity were relatively uniform across the sampled populations, and consistent with that found in other widespread eucalypts such as River Red Gum (E. camaldulensis) and Tuart (E. gomphocephala). The researcers were also pleased to find very little inbreeding, and no genetic bottlenecks.

These results indicate that the sampled populations should be producing seed with good genetic diversity for restoration projects.
To better understand how Yellow Box might respond under climate change, the researchers also modelled past and future distributions. The current distribution is predicted to contract to the southeast as the climate across this region becomes hotter and drier.
A major challenge associated with this change is the fact that the southeast region where Yellow Box is predicted to move is already heavily used for agriculture and includes several major urban areas. Modelling conducted through the project predicted that land availability will be a major barrier, and opportunties for Yellow Box to colonise the new range over the coming decades will be extremely limited.
This suggests that natural colonization by Yellow Box and other species over the coming decades will be limited and will need careful planning and monitoring. Restoration projects that include experiments designed to test the effects of seed and species movement are likely to play an important role in this process.

A summary of the results is available here, with details of how to access the full results included in the summary.

PDF icon YBox Factsheet Final.pdf469.15 KB

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Dr. Radut Consulting