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Could Lithospermum officinale be bird dispersed?: A greenhouse experiment
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Biology Education Centre.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 30 credits / 45 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Common gromwell (Lithospermum officinale) acts as a host plant for the monophagous moth Ethmia dodecea  whose larvae are completely dependent on the leaves. As conservation authorities now want to reinstate the regionally extinct moth to Mälardalen, a stable population of its host plant is a requirement. To facilitate the work of strengthening the presence of gromwell a partnership was therefore initiated between Västmanland County Board and Uppsala University. In this cooperation, I performed two studies. In the first one I examined how water and temperature affect plant germination and how nutrient levels affect early growth. In the second study I investigated whether the germination is influenced by chemical treatment (soaking in acid) and mechanical damage (seeds scratched with sandpaper) on the seeds. I worked with the hypothesis that gromwell is grazed by cows and is therefore dispersed and germinates in the spring. This should mean high water levels combined with high temperatures would produce higher germination. For the second study, it means that the germination rate should be higher in the seeds treated with the acid than in the scratched and control treatments. In the first study, so few seeds germinated that I could not draw any conclusions, but germinations appear to go faster in the combination with high nutrients high temperature and frequent watering. In the second study, the seeds scraped with sandpaper had the highest germination rate. This indicates that gromwell may be dispersed by birds, and I propose sandpaper rubbing as a method to easily increase the germination rates of L. officinale in greenhouses in order to reinforce small populations in the field. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 20 p.
Keyword [en]
Lithospermum officinale, scarification, dispersal, germination, dormancy
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-264350OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-264350DiVA: diva2:859974
Educational program
Master Programme in Biology
Available from: 2016-09-14 Created: 2015-10-09 Last updated: 2016-09-14Bibliographically approved

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