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Marco Iannaccone, Courtney Farrugia , Arthur Lamoliere, Joseph Buhagiar
The Mediterranean basin is a biodiversity hotspot but many of these species are under threat in many countries; the Maltese Islands are especially so due to habitat loss and degradation as a major impact of overpopulation. To stop biodiversity loss, a better understanding of the “know how” for in situ and ex situ propagation protocols is required. The aim was to investigate such protocols. The seeds were collected, processed and stored in the Seed Bank at the Department of Biology, University of Malta. Seeds were sown in a 2:1ratio compost-perlite and tested under semi-controlled conditions as well as in greenhouse. For two critically endangered species propagation by cutting was also carried out. The seeds of 18 indigenous plants namely Coronilla valentina, Erica multiflora, Eryngium maritimum, Fagonia cretica, Laurus nobilis, Pancratium maritimum, Pinus halepensis, Prasium majus, Quercus ilex, Tetraclinis articulata, Teucrium flavum, Drimia maritima, Phlomis fruticosa, Periploca angustifolia, Thymbra capitata, Euphorbia dendroides such as Euphorbia melitensis (endemic), Ferula melitensis (endemic) were germinated, and developed in mature plants. The lack of seeds availability for Cheirolophus crassifolius and Helichrysum melitense, both endemic and critically endangered species, did not allow us to perform germination tests. On the other hand, the propagation by cuttings using 1-Naphthaleneacetic acid 0.6g/L as rooting hormone was successfully carried out on both species. Roots were developed in 90% of the cuttings, which were all acclimatize as independent plants. All the plantlets produced will be reintroduced into degraded areas of Maltese Natura2000 protected areas as part of a habitat restoration process.
Conference Presentation, SER2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program