Plant community assembly in semi-natural grasslands and ex-arable fields: a trait-based approach
2014 (English)In: Journal of Vegetation Science, ISSN 1100-9233, E-ISSN 1654-1103, Vol. 25, no 1, 77-87 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
QuestionThe assembly of plants into communities is one of the central topics in plant community ecology. The objective of this study was to investigate how plant functional trait diversity and environmental factors influence community assembly in two different grassland communities, and if variation in these factors could explain the difference in species assembly between these communities. LocationSix grazed ex-arable fields and eight semi-natural grasslands in southeast Sweden. MethodsWe estimated species abundance and measured soil attributes at each site. For each species within each site we measured specific leaf area (SLA), leaf dry matter content (LDMC) and seed mass. We analysed the data both for abundance-weighted species values and species occurrence. ResultsTrait gradient analysis indicated random distribution of species among sites, while CCA analysis indicated that both soil phosphorus and moisture were related to species assembly at a site. Correlations and fourth-corner analysis also revealed a relationship between measured species traits and soil phosphorus and moisture. There was a lower average seed mass and higher SLA of species in ex-arable fields compared to species in semi-natural grasslands. ConclusionsEven though trait gradient analysis indicated that plant community assembly in the studied grasslands was random, other results implied that species occurrence and abundance was influenced both by environmental factors and species traits. Higher species richness in semi-natural grasslands was associated with more large-seeded species found there compared to ex-arable fields, indicating that large-seeded species establish in grasslands later than small-seeded species.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 25, no 1, 77-87 p.
Assembly rules, Dispersal limitation, Environmental filtering, Functional traits, Seed mass, SLA
Ecology Environmental Sciences
Research subject Plant Ecology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-99871DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12058ISI: 000328544600010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-99871DiVA: diva2:690606
FunderSwedish Research Council