Recruitment of long-lived floodplain vegetation: Mesocosm study experimental design

One way to investigate seedling establishment under controlled (or partially controlled) conditions is
through mesocosm studies. Mesocosm studies provide a powerful means of quantifying causal
relationships in a controlled environment. This study will focus on the responses of seedlings to a
sequence of flooding and drying treatments. Work will be undertaken within
experimental/laboratory set-ups, so there will be no specific work undertaken at MDB (Murray–
Darling Basin) EWKR research sites.
Four woody floodplain species, River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehnh.), Black Box
(Eucalyptus largiflorens F.Muell.) and Coolibah (Eucalyptus coolabah Blakely & Jacobs), and one
native floodplain shrub species, Tangled Lignum (Duma florulenta Meissner), were identified as the
key target species (Burns & Gawne 2014). Seedling-specific literature reviews were undertaken to
assess and collate existing information about the recruitment of seedlings of the four key species
(Durant et al. 2016). The information collated from the literature review, as well as expert
discussions and input through workshops, teleconferences and emails, forms the basis of this
experimental design.
The experiment will focus on addressing the primary question:
‘What is the relationship between flow parameters such as duration, frequency and interflood-dry
period (sequential, cumulative events) and establishment?’