Population Ecology

, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 393–403 | Cite as

Dynamics of isolated Saponaria bellidifolia Sm. populations at northern range periphery

  • Anna-Mária CsergőEmail author
  • Edit Molnár
  • Maria Begoña García
Original Article


Four populations of Saponaria bellidifolia situated at the species’ northern range periphery (Apuseni Mountains, southeastern Carpathians) were monitored over a period of 5 years. They were chosen to represent different habitat types (rocky, fixed screes, open screes and grassy), disturbance regime (fire), and population sizes (categorized as large and small). The reproductive effort was quantified, and matrix models were used to describe the population dynamics and to assess population viability. Saponaria bellidifolia had very stable population dynamics in the harsh and stable abiotic conditions of the outcrops where populations occur. Habitat conditions exerted a notable influence on the species’ population reproductive performance, growth rate, and vital rates, whereas population size and climate did not have a clear-cut effect on the dynamics of the species. Saponaria bellidifolia maintains viable populations in the southeastern Carpathians, at its northern range periphery.


Disturbance Matrix population models Peripheral populations Population viability analysis Vegetation succession 



We thank Szilárd Nemes from University of Gothenburg, Sweden and Konrád Lájer from Eötvös József College, Hungary, for help with statistical analyses, Zoltán Pál from Babeş-Bolyai University, Romania, for help with climate data, and Attila Borhidi from University of Pécs, Hungary, for his support during the study. K. Lehtillä kindly wrote the Excel macro to calculate life span. We also thank the anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions. This paper is a part of the first author’s PhD thesis and was partially financed by Domus Hungarica Scientiarum et Artium, Hungary, and also by the Spanish Ministry of Science (project CGL2006-08507 to MBG).


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Copyright information

© The Society of Population Ecology and Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna-Mária Csergő
    • 1
    Email author
  • Edit Molnár
    • 2
  • Maria Begoña García
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of HorticultureSapientia Hungarian University of TransylvaniaTârgu MureşRomania
  2. 2.Hungarian Academy of SciencesInstitute of Ecology and BotanyVácrátótHungary
  3. 3.Pyrenean Institute of Ecology (CSIC)ZaragozaSpain

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