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Gamochaeta antarctica

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA MAGNOLIOPSIDA ASTERALES COMPOSITAE

Scientific Name: Gamochaeta antarctica
Species Authority: (Hook.f.) Cabrera
Common Name(s):
English Antarctic Cudweed
Synonym(s):
Gnaphalium antarcticum Hook.f.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-04-11
Assessor(s): Upson, R., McAdam, J.H., Clubbe, C.P. & Lewis, R.
Reviewer(s): Hilton-Taylor, C. & Bilz, M.
Contributor(s): Broughton, D.A.
Justification:

The Antarctic Cudweed is a national endemic of the Falkland Islands where it has a very small area of occupancy of about 28 km² (likely to be an over-estimate). It was only known to occur at five threat-defined locations, but continued occurrence at two of these could not be re-confirmed during the most recent site visits (2007-2011). At present the major threats to four of the five known locations are grazing pressure, increased fire frequency and potential agricultural disturbance. The threat from grazing is ongoing and can reasonably be projected to cause a continuing decline in the quality of the habitat if there are no changes in management at the key sites. The Antarctic Cudweed is therefore listed as Endangered. The species also potentially qualifies as Endangered under the estimate for extent of occurrence (EOO) if the lower estimate is used, however, there is a possibility that the EOO could be larger if the presence of the species at a former historic site is confirmed.

History:
2003 Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Gamochaeta antarctica is endemic to the Falkland Islands and has been recorded from five 10 km UTM grid squares which are distributed across both the west and east of the archipelago. It is, however, currently only known from three of the five  locations reported in the 2003 assessment as former records could not be relocated during surveys carried out in 2007, 2009 and 2011.
Countries:
Native:
Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Current evidence suggests that the largest known subpopulation of G. antarctica consists of 251-300 mature individuals. Where available, other population data indicates subpopulation sizes of fewer than 20 mature individuals. Overall current data suggests a population size of fewer than 1,000 mature individuals.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

G. antarctica is a biennial, with little known about its ecology. This species occurs in a similar range of habitats to Gamochaeta malvinensis, although it is clearly much rarer. G. antarctica is predominantly found in diverse lowland dwarf shrub heath within an altitudinal range of 0-73 m. It has also previously been observed growing within acid grassland and on sand with Senecio candidans, Juncus scheuchzerioides and Rumex acetosella as well as in rock crevices.

Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The species is not used.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Grazing, habitat degradation (including from increased frequency of fire) and habitat modification are likely to be key factors in the species' present scarcity.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Ex situ Conservation:

A Species Action Plan has been written for G. antarctica (Upson and Broughton 2012).

A (limited) 2008 seed collection is held at Kew's Millennium Seed Bank. Leaf material has been collected from one subpopulation and is held at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew for future genetic research and DNA banking.

An ex situ plant is currently being maintained in cultivation by M. Morrison, Stanley, Falkland Islands. Studies of this plant have shown that G. antarctica is a biennial.


In situ Conservation:

Two Important Plant Areas (IPAs) have been identified which cover the majority of the known population of this species (Upson 2012). One of these IPAs is largely ungrazed.

Falklands Conservation has followed up all previously recorded subpopulations of this species (2007-2011), however, two could not be re-confirmed. 

A species identification guide is available for free download from Falkland Conservation's website.


Conservation Needed:

  • Further seed should be collected to bulk up MSB collections and cover the full geographic range. Seed viability should also be tested and investigations carried out into germination temperature and condition optimization, methods of transplantation and propagation.
  • Continue raising awareness about this species and the need to search for further subpopulations. Continue to draw attention to the ID guide freely available on Falkland Conservation's website.
  • G. antarctica should be added to the Conservation of Wildlife and Nature Ordinance (Falkland Islands Government 1999) in line with its status as a National Red List species.

Research Needed:

  • Determine the phylogenetic positioning of G. antarctica.
  • Continue to search appropriate locations for further subpopulations of this species.
  • Study levels of genetic heterogeneity within and between subpopulations to better inform conservation planning.

Citation: Upson, R., McAdam, J.H., Clubbe, C.P. & Lewis, R. 2012. Gamochaeta antarctica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 19 September 2014.
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