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Habitat fragmentation and invasion by exotic species are regarded as major threats to the biodiversity of many ecosystems. We surveyed the plant communities of two types of remnant sagebrush-steppe fragments from nearby areas on the Snake River Plain of southeastern Idaho, USA. One type resulted from land use (conversion to dryland agriculture; hereafter AG Islands) and the other from geomorphic processes (Holocene volcanism; hereafter kipukas). We assessed two predictions for the variation in native plant species richness of these fragments, using structural equation models (SEM). First, we predicted that the species richness of native plants would follow the MacArthur-Wilson (M-W) hypothesis of island biogeography,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Plant Ecology
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Obligate seeding species are highly specialized to fire disturbance and many conifers such as cypress, which are adapted to high intensity stand-replacing fires, have canopy seed banks stored in serotinous cones. Resilience of these trees to fire disturbance is a function of disturbance frequency and one focus of this study was to determine the effect of patch age on postfire recruitment. A second focus was to determine the extent to which fire induced a landscape level change in the location of the forest boundary. Prior to a fire in 1994, a large Cupressus sargentii forest was a mosaic landscape of different aged patches of nearly pure cypress bordered by chaparral. Patches less than 60 years of age were relatively...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Plant Ecology
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We fit regression and classification tree models to vegetation data collected from Ohio (USA) wetlands to determine (1) which species best predict Ohio vegetation index of biotic integrity (OVIBI) score and (2) which species best predict high-quality wetlands (OVIBI score >75). The simplest regression tree model predicted OVIBI score based on the occurrence of three plant species: skunk-cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), and swamp rose (Rosa palustris). The lowest OVIBI scores were best predicted by the absence of the selected plant species rather than by the presence of other species. The simplest classification tree model predicted high-quality wetlands based on the occurrence...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Plant Ecology
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Efforts to improve the diversity of seed 18 resources for important restoration species has become a high priority for land managers in many parts of the world. Relationships between functional trait values and the environment from which seed sources are collected can provide important insights into patterns of local adaptation and guidelines for seed transfer. However, little is known about which functional traits exhibit genetic differentiation across populations of restoration species and thus may contribute to local adaptation. Here, we report the results of a common garden experiment aimed at assessing genetic (including ploidy level) and environmental regulation of several functional traits among populations...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Plant Ecology
Gas exchange and water relations responses to warming were compared for two shrub species, Artemisia tridentata spp. vaseyana (Asteraceae), a widely distributed evergreen species of the Great Basin and the western slope of the Rocky Mountains, and Pentaphylloides floribunda (Rosaceae), a deciduous shrub limited in distribution to moist, high-elevation meadows. Plants were exposed to an in situ infrared (IR) climate change manipulation at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, near Crested Butte, CO. Measurements of gas exchange and water relations were made on the two species in July and August, 1993 from plants growing in situ in infrared-heated and control plots. Carbon dioxide uptake, water loss, leaf temperature,...
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Ecological factors favoring either postfire resprouting or postfire obligate seeding in plants have received considerable attention recently. Three ecological models have been proposed to explain patterns of these two life history types. In this study, we test these three models using data from California chaparral. We take an innovative approach to testing these models by not testing community or landscape patterns, but instead, investigating vegetation structure characteristic of four pairs of resprouting and (non-resprouting) obligate seeding subspecies of Arctostaphylos (Ericaceae), a dominant and diverse shrub genus in California chaparral. Data were analyzed for percentage bare ground, elevation, annual precipitation,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Plant Ecology
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Size and age structures of stand populations of numerous tree species exhibit uneven or reverse J-distributions that can persist after non-catastrophic disturbance, especially windstorms. Among disjunct populations of conspecific trees, alternative distributions are also possible and may be attributed to more localized variation in disturbance. Regional differences in structure and demography among disjunct populations of sand pine (Pinus clausa (Chapm. ex Engelm.) Vasey ex Sarg.) in the Florida panhandle and peninsula may result from variation in hurricane regimes associated with each of these populations. We measured size, age, and growth rates of trees from panhandle and peninsula populations and then compiled...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Plant Ecology
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Seedling emergence and survival of 15 perennial species were studied for six years in a 557-m2 permanent plot at Tumamoc Hill, Arizona, USA, an ungrazed site in the northern Sonoran Desert. The minimum rain required for germination and emergence ranged from 17.5 to 35.6 mm. Few species emerged in every year of the study. First-year survival averaged across all 15 species was 3.7%; only 0.1% of seedlings lived as long as four years. The odds of survival in the first year improved with increased rain. About three times as many seedlings died from predation as desiccation. In 2-m2 subplots, mortality of three woody species in the first 30 days after emergence appeared to be independent of seedling density. Short-,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Plant Ecology
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The coastal prairie ecoregion is located along the northwestern coastal plain of the Gulf of Mexico in North America. Because of agricultural and urban development, less than 1% of the original 3.4 million ha of this ecosystem type remains in native condition, making it one of the most endangered ecosystems in North America. The objective of this study was to characterize the vegetation and environmental relationships in a relatively pristine example of lowland coastal prairie in order to provide information for use in conservation and restoration. The study area was a small, isolated prairie located near the southern boundary of the coastal prairie region. Samples were taken along three parallel transects that...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Plant Ecology
Greenhouse experiments were undertaken to identify soil factors that curtail growth of the exotic annual grass Bromus tectorum L. (cheatgrass) without significantly inhibiting growth of native perennial grasses (here represented by Hilaria jamesii [Torr.] Benth). We grew B. tectorum and H. jamesii alone (monoculture pots) and together (combination pots) in soil treatments that manipulated levels of soil phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. Hilaria jamesii showed no decline when its aboveground biomass in any of the applied treatments was compared to the control in either the monoculture or combination pots. Monoculture pots of B. tectorum showed a decline in aboveground biomass with the addition of Na2HPO4 and K2HPO4....
Exotic plant invasions are a serious concern for land managers and conservationists. There is evidence that increased nitrogen availability favors exotic species and decreased nitrogen availability favors non-weedy native species. This study was conducted to test the effect of nitrogen availability on competition between two grass species with contrasting life histories, cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), a North American exotic, and blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), a North American native. We investigated the effects of nitrogen availability and competition on aboveground biomass, belowground biomass, height, and % nitrogen tissue concentrations by growing the two species in the greenhouse under five levels of nitrogen...
Long-lived desert shrubs exhibit infrequent, episodic recruitment from seed. In spite of this long time scale, selection on life history attributes that affect seedling recruitment should be strong. We studied factors affecting germination phenology and seedling establishment for Coleogyne ramosissima, a dominant shrub species in the ecotone between warm and cold deserts in western North America. We also examined ecotypic differentiation in establishment strategy in response to selection regimes in two contrasting habitats. We followed patterns of dormancy loss, germination, emergence, and survival in reciprocal field experiments at warm winter Mojave Desert and cold winter Colorado Plateau study sites. Seed germination...
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The relationship between vegetation cover and soil seed banks was studied in five different ungulate herbivoreprairie dog treatment combinations at three northern mixed-grass prairie sites in Badlands National Park, South Dakota. There were distinct differences in both the seed bank composition and the aboveground vegetation between the off-prairie dog colony treatments and the on-colony treatments. The three on-colony treatments were similar to each other at all three sites with vegetation dominated by the forbs Dyssodia papposa, Hedeoma spp., Sphaeralcea coccinea, Conyza canadensis, and Plantago patagonica and seed banks dominated by the forbs Verbena bracteata and Dyssodia papposa. The two off-colony treatments...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Plant Ecology
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In North America, most Artemisia (Asteraceae) shrub species lack the ability to resprout after disturbances that remove aboveground biomass. We studied the response of one of the few resprouting Artemisia shrubs, Artemisia filifolia (sand sagebrush), to the effects of prescribed fires. We collected data on A. filifolia density and structural characteristics (height, canopy area, and canopy volume) in an A. filifolia shrubland in the southern Great Plains of North America. Our study sites included areas that had not been treated with prescribed fire, areas that had been treated with only one prescribed fire within the previous 5 years, and areas that had been treated with two prescribed fires within the previous...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Plant Ecology
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Ecosystems in the eastern United States that were shaped by fire over thousands of years of anthropogenic burning recently have been subjected to fire suppression resulting in significant changes in vegetation composition and structure and encroachment by invasive species. Renewed interest in use of fire to manage such ecosystems will require knowledge of effects of fire regime on vegetation. We studied the effects of one aspect of the fire regime, fire frequency, on biomass, cover and diversity of understory vegetation in upland oak forests prescribe-burned for 20 years at different frequencies ranging from zero to five fires per decade. Overstory canopy closure ranged from 88 to 96% and was not affected by fire...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Plant Ecology
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Rare plants are often associated with distinctive soil types, and understanding why endemic species occur in unique environments is fundamental for their management. At Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in southern Nevada, USA, we evaluated whether the limited distribution of endangered Amargosa niterwort (Nitrophila mohavensis) is explained by this species’ tolerance of saline soils on salt-encrusted mud flats compared with the broadly distributed desert saltgrass (Distichlis spicata var. stricta). We simultaneously explored whether niterwort distribution is restricted from expanding due to interspecific competition with saltgrass. Surface soils collected throughout niterwort’s range were unexpectedly less saline...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Plant Ecology
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Reforestation of bottomland hardwood sites in the southeastern United States has markedly increased in recent years due, in part, to financial incentives provided by conservation programs. Currently > 250,000 ha of marginal farmland have been returned to hardwood forests. I observed establishment of trees and shrubs on 205 reforested bottomlands: 133 sites were planted primarily with oak species (Quercus spp.), 60 sites were planted with pulpwood producing species (Populus deltoides, Liquidambar styraciflua, or Platanus occidentalis), and 12 sites were not planted (i.e., passive regeneration). Although oak sites were planted with more species, sites planted with pulpwood species were more rapidly colonized by additional...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Plant Ecology
Broom snakeweed (snakeweed) is an aggressive native range-weed found throughout arid and semiarid areas of the western United States, that increases following disturbances such as overgrazing, drought, or wildfire. Ecologically based strategies that include controlling snakeweed and reestablishing desirable herbaceous species are needed to restore productivity and diversity to invaded areas. The objective of this study was to compare the ability of selected introduced and native grass species and prostrate kochia (kochia) to prevent reinvasion of snakeweed, downy brome, and annual forbs following control. This field study was replicated at two sites (Howell and Nephi, Utah) within the sagebrush-steppe biome. Snakeweed...
Invasive exotic weeds pose one of the earth's most pressing environmental problems. Although many invaders completely eliminate native plant species from some communities, ecologists know little about the mechanisms by which these exotics competitively exclude other species. Mycorrhizal fungi radically alter competitive interactions between plants within natural communities, and a recent study has shown that arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi provide a substantial competitive advantage to spotted knapweed, Centaurea maculosa, a noxious perennial plant that has spread throughout much of the native prairie in the northwestern U.S. Here we present evidence that this advantage is potentially due to mycorrhizally mediated...


map background search result map search result map Presence of indicator plant species as a predictor of wetland vegetation integrity Presence of indicator plant species as a predictor of wetland vegetation integrity