Dispersal and life-history strategies in epiphyte metacommunities: alternative solutions to survival in patchy, dynamic landscapes
2009 (English)In: Oecologia, ISSN 0029-8549, E-ISSN 1432-1939, Vol. 161, no 3, 569-579 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Host trees for obligate epiphytes are dynamic patches that emerge, grow and fall, and metacommunity diversity critically depends on efficient dispersal. Even though species that disperse by large asexual diaspores are strongly dispersal-limited, asexual dispersal is common. The stronger dispersal limitation of asexually reproducing species compared to species reproducing sexually via small spores may be compensated by higher growth rates, lower sensitivity to habitat conditions, higher competitive ability or younger reproductive age.
We compared growth and reproduction of different groups of epiphytic bryophytes with contrasting dispersal (asexual vs sexual) and life-history strategies (colonists, short- and long-lived shuttle species, perennial stayers) in an old-growth forest stand in the boreo-nemoral region in Eastern Sweden.
No differences were seen in relative growth rates between asexual and sexual species. Long-lived shuttles had lower growth rates than colonists and perennial stayers. Most groups grew best at intermediate bark pH. Interactions with other epiphytes had a small, often positive effect on growth. Neither differences in sensitivity of growth to habitat conditions nor differences in competitive abilities among species groups were found. Habitat conditions, however, influenced the production of sporophytes, but not of asexual diaspores. Presence of sporophytes negatively affected growth, whereas presence of asexual diaspores did not. Sexual species had to reach a certain colony size before starting to reproduce, whereas no such treshold existed for asexual reproduction.
The results indicate that the epiphyte metacommunity is structured by two main trade-offs: dispersal distance vs reproductive age, and dispersal distance vs sensitivity to habitat quality. There seems to be a trade-off between growth and sexual reproduction, but not asexual. Trade-offs in species traits may be shaped by conflicting selection pressures imposed by habitat turnover and connectivity rather than by species interactions.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 161, no 3, 569-579 p.
Growth, Local processes, Metapopulation, Reproduction, Trade-offs
Research subject Ecological Botany
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-107314DOI: 10.1007/s00442-009-1402-1ISI: 000269010300012OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-107314DiVA: diva2:228732