, Volume 64, Issue 2, pp 255-262

Light-induced variation in the growth and dynamics of transplanted ramets of the understory herb, Aster acuminatus

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Summary

Ramets of the understory herb, Aster acuminatus, were transplanted from two source populations into eight understory garden sites that varied in light and soil moisture levels. Ramet growth, clonal growth, flowering and survivorship were monitored for three growing seasons. Large differences among gardens in ramet growth, clonal growth and flowering developed in the first growing season and increased in the next two years. This variation was positively correlated with garden light level but not at all with soil moisture. Mortality rates were low in all gardens and showed that genets from any particular source could survive over a broad range of environmental conditions. There was no conclusive evidence for any source population differences in the capacity to survive or grow in different environments. The rapid, light-induced responses of transplanted ramets resulted in garden populations very similar in appearance to natural populations experiencing similar light regimes. These results combined with those from other studies of A. acuminatus provide strong evidence for the importance of light in explaining population patterns and dynamics in this species.