, Volume 101, Issue 3, pp 299-308

A test for lottery recruitment among four Banksia species based on their demography and biological attributes

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A stage-by-stage protocol for identifying simple or biased lottery, or non-lottery, patterns of seedling recruitment is outlined. For a simple (weighted) lottery to apply, the proportion of total individuals accounted for by one species at one stage of recruitment plotted against the proportion accounted for at a previous stage over a wide range of recruitment conditions should obey a linear regression with a=0 and b=1. For a biased lottery to hold, the regression is significant but a≠0 and/or b≠1. Demorgraphic, size and water relations data were collected over 3 years for four co-occurring Banksia species following two contrasting experimental fires. The first summer was exceptionally wet and the second was exceptionally hot and dry. Seedlings still alive by the 3rd year relative to the fire-killed parent plants conformed to a biased lottery in the case of B. speciosa and B. baxteri, while B. coccinea and B. pulchella had no mathematical structure (mean of the proportional ratios ≠ 1). Intervening stages, beginning with seed release, showed transient deterministic or simple lottery patterns in some cases, but the overriding trend was for biased lotteries. B. speciosa dominated the responses, with greater seed release than expected, fewer initial seedlings, lottery survival of 1st year seedlings and greater survival of 2nd year seedlings, when compared with the previous stages. Large seeds and subsequent high growth rates enabled B. speciosa to exploit soil water preferentially during the severe summer drought. The trend for B. speciosa to replace other species may be cancelled by stochastic processes not operating in this particular study.