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Multi-species competition experiments with peatland bryophytes
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Plant Ecology and Evolution.
2016 (English)In: Journal of Vegetation Science, ISSN 1100-9233, E-ISSN 1654-1103, Vol. 27, no 1, 165-175 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


Species interactions are one of the processes determining composition of plant communities. We used the community density series method to study competition in a multi-species community of bryophytes common in calcareous fens. The succession of mires is driven bySphagnum species, which are supposedly superior to brown mosses in competition for resources and space, but little is known about the environmental conditions in which brown mosses can prevail when subject to neighbour interactions. How are interactions among peatland bryophytes affected by the environment?


Field and garden experiments near Uppsala in mid-eastern Sweden.


To examine the effects of environment on competition and competitive hierarchies we assembled multi-species communities of ten bryophyte species from shoot fragments (brown mosses and Sphagnum species) at two densities and grew them on three types of peat (representing poor, intermediate and rich fens) under dry or wet conditions in a garden experiment and along pH and wetness gradients in the field.


A multivariate analysis of the garden experiment showed that community composition was affected by peat type and wetness and their interactions. The brown mosses performed better in wet and rich fens, the Sphagnum species in drier and poorer fens. The Sphagnumspecies were overall the best competitors.


The experiments demonstrated contrasting responses of brown mosses and Sphagnum to properties of the microhabitat. Sphagnumspecies were generally less affected by competition than the brown mosses. Sphagnum species were competitive in habitats typically dominated by brown mosses and even responded positively to crowding. This can explain why Sphagnum can invade calcareous fens. In contrast, brown mosses performed poorly in habitats more typical of Sphagnum species.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 27, no 1, 165-175 p.
Keyword [en]
Brown mosses, Calcareous fen, Common garden experiment, Density, Field experiment, pH, Relative growth rate (RGR), Sphagnum, Wetness
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-259194DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12322ISI: 000367816400019OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-259194DiVA: diva2:843558
Swedish Research Council FormasSwedish Research Council
Available from: 2015-07-29 Created: 2015-07-29 Last updated: 2016-08-30Bibliographically approved

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Rydin, Håkan
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Plant Ecology and Evolution
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