Ecological Research

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 257–268

Stochastic population dynamics of clonal plants: Numerical experiments with ramet and genet models

  • Ove Eriksson


Dynamics of ramer and genet populations were analyzed by use of stochastic matrix models. Based on field data, population development and extinction rates during 50 simulated years were estimated for ramet populations of three speciesPotentilla anserina, Rubus saxatilis andLinnaea borealis. Only small initial populations (below 125–250 ramets), experienced a detectable risk of extinction within this time interval. ForP. anserina andR. saxatilis, population increase occurred in some simulations despite negative average growth rates. A model for stochastic genet dynamics was constructed by combining field data and hypothesized parameter values. Growth rate and population structure were insensitive to variation in disturbance intensity and frequency, whereas variation in recruitment affected population structure but only to a minor extent growth rate. Decreasing recruitment causes extinction of genet populations, but the time-scale for the decline is in the magnitude of centuries for initial genet populations of about 1000 individuals. Dynamics of genets in clonal plants thus incorporate processes occurring on widely different scales. Some implications of the results for models of population dynamics in long-lived clonal plants are discussed.

Key words

demography disturbance matrix models population persistence recruitment 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barkham J. P. &Hance C. E. (1982) Population dynamics of the wild daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus). III. Implications of a computer model of 1000 years of population change.Journal of Ecology 70: 323–344.Google Scholar
  2. Caswell H. (1989)Matrix Population Models: Construction, Analysis, and Interpretation. Sinauer, Sunderland.Google Scholar
  3. Cook R. E. (1985) Growth and development in clonal plant populations. In.Population Biology and Evolution in Clonal Organisms (eds J. B. C. Jackson, L. W. Buss & R. E. Cook) pp. 254–296. Yale University Press, New Haven.Google Scholar
  4. Crawley M. J. (1990) The population dynamics of plantsPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London B 330: 125–240.Google Scholar
  5. De Kroon H., Plaisier A. &Van Groenendael J. (1987) Density dependent simulation of the population dynamics of a perennial grassland speciesHypocheris radicata. Oikos 50: 3–12.Google Scholar
  6. De Steven D. (1989) Genet and ramet demography ofOenocarpus mapora sspmapora, a clonal palm of Panamanian tropical moist forest.Journal of Ecology 77: 579–596.Google Scholar
  7. Eriksson O. (1986) Survivorship, reproduction and dynamics of ramets, ofPotentilla anserina on a Baltic seashore meadow.Vegetatio 67: 17–25.Google Scholar
  8. Eriksson O. (1987) Population biology of the stoloniferous plantPotentilla anserina. PhD thesis. University of Stockholm.Google Scholar
  9. Eriksson O. (1988a) Ramet behaviour and population growth in the clonal herbPotentilla anserina.Journal of Ecology 76: 522–536.Google Scholar
  10. Eriksson O. (1988b) Variation in growth rate in shoot populations of the clonal dwarf shrubLinnaea borealis.Holarctic Ecology 11: 259–266.Google Scholar
  11. Eriksson O. (1989) Seedling dynamics and life histories in clonal plants.Oikos 55: 231–238.Google Scholar
  12. Eriksson O. (1991) Population structure and dynamics of the clonal dwarf-shrubLinnaea borealis Journal of Vegetation Science 3: 61–68.Google Scholar
  13. Eriksson O. &Bremer B. (1993) Genet dynamics of the clonal plantRubus saxatilis.Journal of Ecology 81: 533–542.Google Scholar
  14. Eriksson O. &Ehrlén J. (1992) Seed and microsite limitation of plant populations.Oecologia 91: 360–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Goodman D. (1987) The demography of chance extinction. In:Viable Populations for Conservation (ed. M.E. Soulé) pp. 11–34. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.Google Scholar
  16. Harper J. L. (1977)Population Biology of Plants. Academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  17. Inghe O. &Tamm C. O. (1985) Survival and flowering of perennial herbs. IV. The behaviour ofHepatica nobilis andSanicula europaea on permanent plots during 1943–1981.Oikos 45: 400–420.Google Scholar
  18. Jelinski D. E. &Cheliak W. M. (1992) Genetic diversity and spatial subdivision ofPopulus tremuloides (Salicaceae) in a heterogeneous landscape.American Journal of Botany 79: 728–736.Google Scholar
  19. Mace G. M. &Lande R. (1991) Assessing extinction threats: Towards a reevaluation of IUCN threatened species categories.Conservation Biology 5: 148–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Menges E. S. (1990) Population viability analysis for an endangered plant.Conservation Biology 4: 52–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Menges E. S. (1992) Stochastic modeling of extinction in plant populations. In:Conservation Biology: The theory and practice of nature conservation, preservation and management (eds P. L. Fiedler & S. K. Jain) pp. 253–275. Chapman & Hall, New York.Google Scholar
  22. Oinonen E. (1967a) Sporal regeneration of bracken (Pteridium aquilinum (L.) Kuhn.) in Finland in the light of the dimensions and the age of its clones.Acta Forestalia Fennica 83: 1–96.Google Scholar
  23. Oinonen E. (1967b) The correlation between the size of Finnish bracken (Pteridium aquilinum (L.) Kuhn.) clones and certain periods of site history.Acta Forestalia Fennica 83: 1–51.Google Scholar
  24. Silvertown J. W. (1987)Introduction to Plant Population Ecology, 2nd edn. Longman, London.Google Scholar
  25. Templeton A. R. &Levin D. A. (1979) Evolutionary consequences of seed pools.American Naturalist 114: 232–249.Google Scholar
  26. Tuljapurkar S. D. (1982) Population dynamics in variable environments. II. Correlated environments, sensitivity analysis and dynamics.Theoretical Population Biology 21: 114–140.Google Scholar
  27. Tuljapurkar S. D. &Orzack S. H. (1980) Population dynamics in variable environments. I. Long run growth rates and extinction.Theoretical Population Biology 18: 314–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Watkinson A. R. &Powell J. C. (1993) Seedling recruitment and the maintenance of clonal diversity in plant populations: A computer simulation ofRanunculus repens.Journal of Ecology 81: 707–717.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Ecological Society of Japan 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ove Eriksson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyStokholm UniversityStokholmSweden

Personalised recommendations