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Type: Journal
Author(s): Eriksson,O.//Jacobsson,A.
Title: Abundance, distribution and life histories of grassland plants: a comparative study of 81 species.
Publication: Journal of Ecology
Year: 1998
Volume: 86
Page(s): 922-933
Publisher:
Location/Event:
Category: other
Abstract: 1 This study examines the abundance and distribution of grassland plant species in particular relation to features affecting colonization. Seed production (inversely related to seed size) and recruitment success (positively related) affect colonization ability, suggesting that seed size can be used as a key trait. 2 Data on seed size, dispersal mode, life form, geographical range size and abundance were gathered for 81 grassland plant species in a field study area in Sweden. Seed production and plant size were estimated for 69 of these species. Analyses were performed both across species, with species treated as independent data points, and for 43 `phylogenetically independent contrasts'. 3 The cross-species analyses suggested that local abundance was related to life forms but not dispersal or plant size. Perennials were generally most abundant, as were clonal species. If abundance reflects colonization we predicted that species with intermediately sized seeds (or intermediate seed production) would be most abundant, and this was supported by the phylogenetic contrast but not by cross-species analyses. In the former analysis, a high abundance of species was significantly associated with a small seed size deviation (and seed number deviation) from the median values of these traits in the community. 4 Local abundance, seed production and seed size deviation from the community median value were positively related to geographical range size in the cross-species analysis, but no relationships were seen in the phylogenetic contrast analysis. 5 We conclude that colonization processes do have a significant influence on abundance patterns in grasslands. Seed size is a key trait for colonizing ability, and the effects of the trade-off of seed size vs. seed number must be considered. No single mechanism can be identified that influences both abundance and geographical distribution range.
Keyword(s): colonization, metapopulation dynamics, phylogenetic comparative methods, plant communities, seed size
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