Oecologia

, Volume 159, Issue 2, pp 355–361

Understory plant diversity is related to higher variability of vegetative mobility of coexisting species

  • Mari Moora
  • Maarja Öpik
  • Kristjan Zobel
  • Martin Zobel
Community Ecology - Original Paper

Abstract

Theoretical studies claim that if co-occurring species have very different mobilities this will result in greater small-scale species richness, but empirical evidence is still lacking. We measured horizontal vegetative mobility (VM) of 48 herbaceous understory species and estimated small-scale species richness in early and late successional boreonemoral herb-rich coniferous forests in central Estonia. VM of erosulate growth forms was significantly higher than that of hemi-rosette and rosette growth forms. Erosulate species exhibited higher mobility in young stands, but their relative and total cover was considerably higher in old stands. Local plant richness (in 1 × 1 m plots) correlated positively with the variability of VM of species in a plot—larger differences in VM resulted in a higher number of coexisting species. Our results thus suggest that species differences in VM can contribute to small-scale coexistence by providing different ways to colonise empty space.

Keywords

Diversity Forest field layer Plant coexistence Rhizome Vegetative growth 

Supplementary material

442_2008_1209_MOESM1_ESM.doc (81 kb)
Mean [vegetative mobility (VM), cm] ± standard error (SE) of annual rhizome increment of plant species; n number of measured individuals. Forest stand types from which samples were collected: O Old forest, Y young forest,O/Y old and young forest. * Measured individuals exhibited at least once the minimum measured annual increment of 0.1 cm. † Seedlings were present in the community.Nomenclature follows Tutin et al. (1972). (DOC 81 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mari Moora
    • 1
  • Maarja Öpik
    • 1
  • Kristjan Zobel
    • 1
  • Martin Zobel
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Ecology and Earth SciencesUniversity of TartuTartuEstonia

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