Northern Territory University, Darwin
Areas of the South Alligator Floodplain were subject to
saltwater intrusion in recent years, resulting in the mortality of
several species of trees on the floodplain. As an important
riparian species, the death of large areas of Melaleuca prompted
the study to investigate the tolerance of this genus to saltwater.
The project is being conducted as a component of the coastal
monitoring program of the Alligator River's area, currently being
undertaken by ERISS.
The project's aim is to assess the sensitivity of Melaleuca spp
to saltwater at various stages of its life. Individual observations
are being made on the effects of saltwater on germination, seedling
growth, and physiological responses of mature trees in the field.
Where practicable, seeds are being collected from different areas
around the NT to investigate the possibility of increased tolerance
to saltwater from genetic variation. Seeds and leaves from trees
currently growing on salt-affected sites are being used in
experiments to compare with material from fresh water areas, to
determine if any adaptations to a salt environment may have
Dr Derek Eamus, University of Sydney
Dr Michael Douglas , NTU