Trade-offs and habitat constraints in the establishment of epiphytic bryophytes
2010 (English)In: Functional Ecology, ISSN 0269-8463, E-ISSN 1365-2435, Vol. 24, no 4, 887-897 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
1. Diversity of patch-tracking epiphyte metacommunities depends on successful colonization of new habitats. Habitat constraints and critical stages in the establishment have gained little attention in metacommunity studies, but a trade-off between dispersal ability and establishment rate is often assumed. This assumption remains largely untested, and alternative dispersal and reproductive strategies offer several trade-offs to be explored.
2. We used in vitro experiments to identify critical stages in the establishment of obligate epiphytic bryophytes with contrasting dispersal strategies [sexual via small (< 20 mu m) or large (> 20 mu m) spores, asexual via gemmae or gemmae-like branchlets], and to identify habitat constraints of diaspore establishment and trade-offs among species traits.
3. Across all stages of the establishment process, large asexual diaspores performed better than small sexual ones. Asexual species also had a higher ability to establish from fragments than sexual species. Germination of all diaspore types was limited by pH with highest germination rates at intermediate pH. Large moss spores showed a higher desiccation tolerance than small ones, but lower germination and protonemal growth rates. Liverwort spores had the lowest desiccation tolerance, germination and protonemal growth rates, but rapidly developed gametophytic shoots once they had germinated.
4. Combining the results with earlier studies on dispersal distances in epiphytes, our study demonstrated a trade-off between dispersal distance and establishment ability, which may be central for the evolution of asexual dispersal in epiphytes. The evolution of spore size may additionally involve trade-offs between high germination and protonemal growth rates, desiccation tolerance, and a rapid development from protonema to shoots. We suggest that trade-offs in epiphytes are shaped by conflicting selection pressures imposed by habitat patchiness, landscape dynamics and irregular water supply.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 24, no 4, 887-897 p.
desiccation, germination, life-history trade-offs, metacommunity, pH, patch-tracking, protonema, reproductive strategies
Research subject Ecological Botany
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-107315DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2010.01705.xISI: 000279837700022OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-107315DiVA: diva2:228733
Part of PhD-thesis which will be defended the 26th of September 20092009-08-052009-08-052011-12-29Bibliographically approved