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Dispersal limitation and patch occupancy in forest herbs
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Ecological Botany.
2000 (English)In: Ecology, ISSN 0012-9658, E-ISSN 1939-9170, Vol. 81, 1667-1674 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The distribution of species depends on the availability of suitable habitats, the capacity to disperse to these habitats, and the capacity of populations to persist after establishment. Dispersal limitation implies that not all suitable habitat patches will be occupied by a species. However, the extent to which dispersal limits local distribution is poorly known. In this study, we transplanted seeds, bulbils, and juvenile plants to examine patterns of dispersal limitation and patch occupancy in seven temperate-forest herbs. Recruitment was recorded during four years in 48 patches. The investigated species varied considerably in their natural abundance in the patches. Patterns of seedling emergence and establishment among patches were not related to any of nine investigated abiotic factors. In contrast, the availability of seeds or bulbils was found to limit recruitment in six of the investigated species. Establishment was also successful in many patches where the species did not occur naturally. Estimated patch occupancy in the investigated species ranged from 17.2% to 94.6%. Seed size was positively correlated with the probability of successful establishment of seeds and negatively correlated with patch occupancy. The results suggest that dispersal limitation is an important structuring factor in temperate-forest herb communities. The distribution of species can be perceived as the result of processes operating both among and within patches. Seed size is a key trait in these processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2000. Vol. 81, 1667-1674 p.
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-42120DOI: 10.1890/0012-9658(2000)081[1667:DLAPOI]2.0.CO;2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-42120DiVA: diva2:70021
Available from: 2008-10-17 Created: 2008-10-17 Last updated: 2013-10-30Bibliographically approved

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