, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 467-475

Habitat niche specialization in an understory species in a warm temperate forest

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Relationships between microhabitat variables; understory light conditions in summer and winter, altitude, slope inclination and topographic categories (valley, ridge, and slope) and the distribution of Aucuba japonica Thunb. (Cornaceae), a common understory shrub species in Japan were examined using non-contagious 66, 20 × 20 m2 quadrats. The Morishita’s I δ suggested that A. japonica distributions were strongly heterogeneous among the quadrats. Therefore positive spatial autocorrelation of A. japonica at a within-quadrat level (≤20 m) was obvious. Moran’s I statistics showed a significant positive spatial autocorrelation in A. japonica abundance within the distance shorter than 60 m. But the partial Mantel tests suggested that the mass effect from neighboring quadrats would little explain A. japonica abundance in a quadrat. The partial Mantel tests also clearly showed that A. japonica distributions were strongly structured by topography and understory light conditions. Using Monte Carlo randomization tests, we found that A. japonica was aggregately distributed in quadrats in valley which were covered by deciduous canopies. Better understory light conditions in winter together with valley edaphic conditions may increase the abundance of A. japonica there. It is concluded that habitat niche specialization is important in structuring distribution of A. japonica in this forest community.