Date: 14 Feb 2012

Importance of habitat heterogeneity and biotic processes in the spatial distribution of a riparian herb (Carex remota L.): a point process approach

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Abstract

This study attempts to understand the dependence on abiotic factors and on the biotic process of the population development. We used three spatial point process models (Poisson, Area-Interaction and shot-noise Cox processes) in both homogenous and inhomogeneous versions to model the distribution of three Carex remota cohorts in wet zones of a temperate forest in the north of Spain. The cohorts studied were adults and seedlings born in two consecutive years. With the use of these models we are able to simulate separately and jointly the effect on plant distribution of a homogeneous or heterogeneous habitat, and the absence or presence of some biotic processes, as seed dispersal and/or density-dependent interactions. The result of the bivariate function analysis does not reveal sufficient evidences, but suggests a weak positive relation between adults and seedlings that survived a dry period in the first summer. Models from the three cohorts show a decreasing degree of clustering from seedlings to adults. Besides, the results show that the importance of the main factors that explain the population structure changes along the development of Carex stages. Compared to seedlings, the adults pattern shows an increasing dependence on abiotic factors.