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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Amos, Bonnie B. [1].

Translocation of the Endangered Texas Poppy Mallow (Callirhoe scabriuscula, Malvaceae).

Translocation of protected species has become a common practice in conservation, although often used as a last resort because of the high risk of failure. Callirhoe scabriuscula, the Texas Poppy Mallow (TPM), is a federally listed endangered species restricted to a specialized habitat in four counties in west central Texas. Other than a few plants along roadsides, all populations are on privately owned lands. These conditions and a grant awarded to the Mitchell County Board of Economic Development initiated a TPM translocation. Funds were granted, in part, because Mitchell County proposed creating a one-acre Texas poppy-mallow plot, within a funded 20-acre sports complex. Here I will describe the challenges faced and the current status of the population. In 2002 permission was obtained from landowners to collect seeds from a TPM population about 16 miles of the sports complex. The translocation project was initiated when Texas was experiencing a severe drought which had devastating effects on TPM reproduction. To produce seeds, plants at the seed site were hand watered throughout the flowering/fruiting seasons and then caged when the healthy plants attracted herbivores. Despite these efforts, seed set was low and seeds were smaller than normal. Over the next three years: we watered the caged plants and conducted cross pollinations since pollinators were infrequent. Two seed plantings, using 400 seeds, were conducted at the sports complex. Nineteen percent of the seeds produced seedlings but within a 4-month period all had died. Seeds were then germinated and seedlings grown at the university. Upon transfer to the sports complex, seedlings were planted, mapped, and identified with a numbered, tag. Plants with five or more leaves had a higher probability of survival (P<.005) but neither seedling age nor leaf size impacted survival. Yearly monitoring demonstrated TPM plants can remain dormant and underground when conditions are not conducive; annual numbers fluctuate widely. Between 2002 to 2005, and in 2010 493 TPM seedlings were planted. In 2019 368 plants were inventoried, including seedlings and mature plants. The translocation was successful in producing a protected population, which, with climate change and continued destruction of the TPM habitat, may be the sole factor preventing extinction. However, it is improbable this translocation could be repeated at a natural site. The translocation's success was highly dependent upon care of the plants, maintenance of the habitat, a water irrigation system, and an herbivore-proof fence.

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1 - Angelo State University, Biology, ASU Station #10890, San Angelo, TX, 76909, USA

Endangered species
Callirhoe scabriuscula.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: CB1, Conservation Ecology 1
Location: Tucson B/Starr Pass
Date: Monday, July 29th, 2019
Time: 9:00 AM
Number: CB1005
Abstract ID:605
Candidate for Awards:None

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