Linking plant population dynamics to the local environment and forest succession
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Botany2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Linking environmental variation to population dynamics is necessary to understand and predict how the environment influences species abundances and distributions. I used demographic, environmental and trait data of forest herbs to study effects of spatial variation in environmental factors on populations as well as environmental change in terms of effects of forest succession on field layer plants. The results show that abundances of field layer species during forest succession are correlated with their functional traits; species with high specific leaf area increased more in abundance. I also found that soil nutrients affect vegetative and flowering phenology of the forest herb Actaea spicata. The effect of nutrients shows that a wider range of environmental factors than usually assumed can influence plant phenology. Moreover, local environmental factors affected also the demography of A. spicata through effects on vital rates. An abiotic factor, soil potassium affecting individual growth rate, was more important for population growth rate than seed predation, the most conspicuous biotic interaction in this system. Density independent changes in soil potassium during forest succession, and to a lesser extent plant population size dependent seed predation, were predicted to alter population growth rate, and thereby the abundance, of A. spicata over time. Because these environmental factors had effects on population projections, they can potentially influence the occupancy pattern of this species along successional gradients. I conclude that including deterministic, as opposed to stochastic, environmental change in demographic models enables assessments of the effects of processes such as succession, altered land-use, and climate change on population dynamics. Models explicitly incorporating environmental factors are useful for studying population dynamics in a realistic context, and to guide management of threatened species in changing environments.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Botaniska institutionen , 2008. , 40 p.
Actaea spicata, Forest herbs, Forest succession, Integral projection model, Plant demography, Plant phenology, Population dynamics, Pre-dispersal seed predation, Seed mass, Soil potassium, Specific leaf area
Research subject Plant Ecology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8291ISBN: 978-91-7155-773-5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-8291DiVA: diva2:199990
2008-12-05, föreläsningssalen, Botanicum, Lilla Frescativägen 5, Stockholm, 10:00
Rees, Mark, Professor
Ehrlén, Johan, ProfessorEriksson, Ove, Professor
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