Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

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

  • 41 Accesses

  • 38 Citations


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.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Ashmun JW, Pitelka LF (1984) Population biology of Clintonia borealis. I. Survival and growth of transplanted ramets in different environments. J Ecol (in press)

  2. Bjorkman O, Ludlow MM, Morrow PA (1972) Photosynthetic performance of two rainforest species in their native habitat and analysis of their gas exchange. Carn Inst Year Book 71:94–102

  3. Blackman GE, Rutter AJ (1946) Physiological and ecological studies in the analysis of plant environment. I. The light factor and the distribution of the bluebell (Scilla non-scripta) in woodland communities. J Ecol 40:361–390

  4. Blackman GE, Rutter AJ (1948) Physiological and ecological studies in the analysis of plant environment. II. The interaction between light intensity and mineral nutrient supply in leaf development and in the net assimilation rate of the bluebell (Scilla non-scripta). J Ecol 45:1–26

  5. Boardman NK (1977) Comparative photosynthesis in sun and shade plants. Annu Rev Plant Phys 28:355–377

  6. Bormann FH, Likens GE (1979a) Catastrophic disturbance and the steady state in northern hardwood forests. Amer Sci 67:660–669

  7. Bormann FH, Likens GE (1979b) Pattern and process in a forested ecosystem. Springer, New York

  8. Cavers PB, Harper JL (1967) Studies in the dynamics of plant populations. I. The fate of seed and transplants introduced into various habitats. J Ecol 55:59–71

  9. Chabot BF (1978) Environmental influences on photosynthesis and growth in Fragaria vesca. New Phytol 80:87–98

  10. Chabot BF, Chabot JF (1977) Effects of light and temperature on leaf anatomy and photosynthesis in Fragaria vesca. Oecologia (Berlin) 26:363–377

  11. Curtis WF (1979) Adaptation in a forest floor herb in response to seasonal changes in the light environment. Ph.D. Thesis, Washington University, St. Louis

  12. Fernald ML (1950) Gray's manual of botany. Van Nostrand, New York

  13. Flaccus ML (1959) Revegetation of landslides in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Ecology 40:692–703

  14. Kawano S, Hiratsuka A, Hayashi K (1982) The productive and reproductive biology of flowering plants. V. Life history characteristics and survivorship of Erythronium japonicum. Oikos 38:129–149

  15. Morgan MD (1971) Life history and energy relationships of Hydrophyllum appendiculatum. Ecol Monog 41:329–349

  16. Pitelka LF, Stanton DS, Peckenham MO (1980) Effects of light and density on resource allocation in a forest herb, Aster acuminatus (Compositae). Amer J Bot 67:942–948

  17. Pitelka LF, Hansen SB, Ashmun JW (1984) Population biology of Clintonia borealis. I. Ramet and patch dynamics. J Ecol (in press)

  18. Reiners WA, Lang GE (1979) Vegetational patterns and processes in the balsam fir zone, White Mountains, New Hamsphire. Ecology 60:403–417

  19. Siccama TG, Bormann FH, Likens GE (1970) The Hubbard Brook ecoysytem study: productivity, nutrients, and phytosociology of the herbaceous layer. Ecol Monog 40:389–402

  20. Silva J (1978) Studies on the population biology of Maianthemum canadense Desf. Ph.D. Thesis, Harvard University, Boston

  21. Silva J, Kana TM, Solbrig OT (1982) Shoot demography in New England populations of Maianthemum canadense Desf. Oecologia (Berlin) 52:181–186

  22. Sobey DG, Barkhouse P (1977) The structure and rate of growth of the rhizomes of some forest herbs and dwarf shrubs of the New Brunswick-Nova Scotia border region. Canad Field Nat 91:377–383

  23. Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ (1981) Biometry. 2nd ed WH Freeman and Company, San Francisco

  24. Solbrig OT, Newell SJ, Kincaid DT (1980) The population biology of the genus Viola. I. The demography of Viola sororia. J Ecol 68:521–546

  25. Sparling JH (1967) Assimilation rates of some woodland herbs in Ontario. Bot Gaz 128:160–168

  26. Sprugel DG (1976) Dynamic structure of wave-regenerated Abies balsamae forests in the north-eastern United States. J Ecol 64:889–911

  27. Sprugel DG, Bormann FH (1981) Natural disturbance and the steady state in high-altitude balsam fir forests. Science 211:390–393

  28. Taylor RJ, Pearcy RW (1976) Seasonal patterns of the CO2 exchange characteristics of understory plants from a deciduous forest. Can J Bot 57:2559–2563

  29. Winn AA, Pitelka LF (1981) Some effects of density on the reproductive patterns and patch dynamics of Aster acuminatus. Bull Torrey Bot Club 108:438–445

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Jeffrey W. Ashmun.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ashmun, J.W., Pitelka, L.F. Light-induced variation in the growth and dynamics of transplanted ramets of the understory herb, Aster acuminatus . Oecologia 64, 255–262 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00376879

Download citation


  • Mortality Rate
  • Soil Moisture
  • Strong Evidence
  • Natural Population
  • Light Level