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University of Malta (2002)

A study of the ecology of the sandarac gum tree, Tetraclinis articulata (Vahl) Masters, from a site in Malta

Bahmuller, Alison

Titre : A study of the ecology of the sandarac gum tree, Tetraclinis articulata (Vahl) Masters, from a site in Malta

Auteur : Bahmuller, Alison

Université de soutenance : University of Malta

Grade : Master of science (MS) Biology 2002

Résumé partiel
The aim of this work was to study the ecology of the sandarac gum tree, Tetraclinis articulata (Vahl) Masters, from a site in the Maltese islands. For this purpose, the largest population of Tetraclinis articulata was chosen. This is found in the area known as Il-Miizieb at Mellieha. The distribution of Tetraclinis articulata was studied and the approximate position of the individual trees was marked on a site map. Tetraclinis articulata is found in the valley beneath the main road, on the cliff top, and on the slopes of the valley leading to the small road. It forms the higher layer of a garigue dominated by Erica multiflora towards the edge of the cliff top, but is absent away from the edge. It forms small patches of maquis on the rocky slopes leading to the small road. Population growth was assessed by counting individuals in 1999, and then again in 2002, and comparing this to the population size in 1992. This population is growing on its own. The approximate height of all trees was measured. In April 2002 this population consisted of 88 individuals. 67% had a height of less than or equal to 1.5 m. The highest individuals had a height of approximately 6 m. Phenology was studied. Tetraclinis articulata produces male and female cones in autumn, as early as September. By July of the following year, fertilized female cones are mature, and seeds start to be released. By October, all seeds have been released. Growth was investigated by measuring the height and the trunk circumference of twelve trees before and after a definite period of time. Tetraclinis articulata is a slow-growing tree and in this population, growth rate, in terms of increase in height, is between 7.5 and 10 cm/year. The organisms interacting with Tetraclinis articulata were investigated. No epiphytes and no visible parasites were observed on this tree. The plant species growing in the same ground area and within a distance of 0.5 m from the outer circumference of a number of chosen trees were recorded. The vegetation growing further from these trees was studied by recording the plant species growing beneath line transects of specific lengths. Quite a number of plants grow in the vicinity of Tetraclinis articulata and thus compete with it for resources. Erica multiflora seems to be associated with Tetraclinis articulata. Two other plants often found in the vicinity of Tetraclinis articulata are Urginea maritima and Asparagus aphyllus. On the rocky slopes, Tetraclinis articulata grows on and between the rocks, and forms small patches of maquis together with Ceratonia siliqua.

Présentation (OAR@UM)

Page publiée le 5 mai 2022