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The impact of disturbance and seed availability on germination in alpine vegetation in the Scandinavian mountains
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Botany.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Botany.
2007 (English)In: Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine research, ISSN 1523-0430, E-ISSN 1938-4246, Vol. 39, no 3, 449-454 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The availability of seeds and microsites are limiting factors for many plant species of different vegetation types. We have investigated the existence of such limitations in two habitats, an alpine heath and a subalpine birch forest, where abiotic factors are hypothesized to be the main determining factor of plant species distributions. Both habitats are characterized by a short growing season and cold temperatures, and the alpine heath is also constrained by low productivity. A seed addition experiment including six vascular plants, selected by different functional traits and occurrence, showed that seed limitation was an important factor in these habitats. Removal of the aboveground biomass (controlled disturbance) increased germination only for some species. The effect of reindeer presence was found to be of less importance, probably due to low and varying densities of reindeer. To conclude, we found that seed limitation was the most important factor limiting the distribution of our studied species in the two alpine environments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Colorado: Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado , 2007. Vol. 39, no 3, 449-454 p.
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-24185DOI: 10.1657/1523-0430(06-024)[LINDGREN]2.0.CO;2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-24185DiVA: diva2:196969
Available from: 2007-03-29 Created: 2007-03-27 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Effects of herbivory on arctic and alpine vegetation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Effects of herbivory on arctic and alpine vegetation
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The distribution of plant species and functional traits in alpine and arctic environments are determined by abiotic conditions, but also by biotic interactions. In this thesis, I investigate interactions among plants and herbivory effects on plant community composition and plant functional traits in three different regions: Swedish Lapland, Beringia (USA/Russia) and Finnmark (Norway). Reindeer grazing was found to be extensive in southern Lapland and had limited effects on plant community composition and seedling germination. However, reindeer presence was found to influence plant functional traits, particularly in the subalpine birch forest. Tall herbs were lower and had lower SLA when reindeer were present, while small herbs showed an opposite pattern. The contrasting effects on the two herb groups are probably explained by a competitive release for small herbs when the tall herbs are suppressed by reindeer. Rodents had the largest relative impact on plant community composition in southern Lapland and this is consistent with the study from Finnmark, where rodents heavily affected dwarf shrubs on predator-free islands. With no predators present, vole densities increased profoundly and almost depleted some dwarf shrub species. These results support the idea that small mammals in arctic and alpine tundra are controlled by predators (i.e. top-down). However, a decrease in the nutritional quality in a sedge after defoliation gives support for the idea that small mammals are regulated by plant quality (i.e. bottom-up). In Beringia, small and large herbivores differed in the relation to plant community composition, since large herbivores were related to species richness and small herbivores were related to plant abundance. Plant functional traits were related only to large herbivores and standing crop of vascular plants.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Botaniska institutionen, 2007. 38 p.
Keyword
herbivory, reindeer, rodents, functional traits, plant species composition, arctic, alpine, tundra, seed limitation, Carex bigelowii
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Plant Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-6746 (URN)91-7155-396-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2007-04-20, föreläsningssalen, Botanicum, Lilla Frescativägen 5, Stockholm, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2007-03-29 Created: 2007-03-27Bibliographically approved

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