Landscape and habitat filters jointly drive richness and abundance of specialist plants in terrestrial habitat islands
Landscape and habitat filters are major drivers of biodiversity of small habitat islands by influencing dispersal and extinction events in plant metapopulations.
We assessed the effects of landscape and habitat filters on the species richness, abundance and trait composition of grassland specialist and generalist plants in small habitat islands. We studied traits related to functional spatial connectivity (dispersal ability by wind and animals) and temporal connectivity (clonality and seed bank persistence) using model selection.
We sampled herbaceous plants, landscape (local and regional isolation) and habitat filters (inclination, woody encroachment and disturbance) in 82 grassland islands in Hungary.
Isolation decreased the abundance of good disperser specialist plants due to the lack of directional vectors transferring seeds between suitable habitat patches. Clonality was an effective strategy, but persistent seed bank did not support the survival of specialist plants in isolated habitats. Generalist plants were unaffected by landscape filters due to their wide habitat breadth and high propagule availability. Clonal specialist plants could cope with increasing woody encroachment due to their high resistance against environmental changes; however, they could not cope with intensive disturbance. Steep slopes providing environmental heterogeneity had an overall positive effect on species richness.
Specialist plants were influenced by the interplay of landscape filters influencing their abundance and habitat filters affecting species richness. Landscape filtering by isolation influenced the abundance of specialist plants by regulating seed dispersal. Habitat filters sorted species that could establish and persist at a site by influencing microsite availability and quality.
KeywordsBiotic interactions Dispersal filter Historical landscape Kurgan Landscape composition Spatial connectivity Temporal connectivity
The authors were supported by OTKA PD 115627 (BD), OTKA PD 111807 (OV), NKFI FK 124404 (OV), NKFI KH 126476 (OV), NKFI ERC-16-M-127070 (OV); NKFI K 167477 (BT), OTKA K 116639 (BT), NKFIH K 119225 (PT) and NKFIH PD 121126 (ÁB) projects. The project was supported by the Bolyai János Research Scholarship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (BD, OV). AK was funded by the MTA’s Postdoctoral Research Programme. BD and OV were supported by the ÚNKP-17-4-III-DE-160 and ÚNKP-17-4-III-DE-151 New National Excellence Programme of the Ministry of Human Capacities. We are grateful to Aiko Huckauf for improving the English of the manuscript.
- Barton K (2011) MuMIn: Multi-model inference. R package version 1.0Google Scholar
- Borhidi A (1995) Social behaviour types, the naturalness and relative ecological indicator values of the higher plants in the Hungarian Flora. Acta Bot Hung 39:97–181Google Scholar
- Bossuyt B, Honnay O, Hermy M (2004) Scale-dependent frequency distributions of plant species in dune slacks: dispersal and niche limitation. J Veg Sci 15:321–328Google Scholar
- Burnham K, Anderson D (2002) Model selection and multimodel inference: a practical information-theoretic approach. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- European Environment Agency (2010) CORINE land cover database. European Environment Agency, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
- Faraway JJ (2014) Linear models with R, 2nd edn. Chapman & Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Kiss R, Valkó O, Tóthmérész B, Török P (2016) Seed bank research in Central-European grasslands—an overview. In: Murphy J (ed) Seed banks: types, roles and research. Nova Science Publishers, New York, pp 1–34Google Scholar
- Kleyer M, Bekker RM, Knevel IC, Bakker JP, Thompson K, Sonnenschein M, Poschlod P, Van Groenandel JM, Klimeš L, Klimešová J, Klotz S, Rusch GM, Hermy M, Adriens D, Boedeltje G, Bossuyt B, Dannemann A, Endels P, Götzenberger L, Hodgson JG, Jackel A-K, Kühn I, Kunzmann D, Ozinga WA, Römermann C, Stadler M, Schlegelmilch J, Steendam HJ, Tackenberg O, Wilmann B, Cornelissen JHC, Eriksson O, Garnier E, Peco B (2008) The LEDA Traitbase: a database of life-history traits of Northwest European flora. J Ecol 96:1266–1274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- R Core Team (2018) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, ViennaGoogle Scholar
- Sudnik-Wójcikowska B, Moysiyenko II (2014) Indicative role of the flora of kurgans in the ‘Wild Field’ (southern Ukraine). Monit Środowiska Przyrodniczego 15:75–83Google Scholar
- Tamme R, Hiiesalu I, Laanisto L, Szava-Kovats R, Pärtel M (2010) Environmental heterogeneity, species diversity and co-existence at different spatial scales. J Veg Sci 21:796–801Google Scholar
- Thompson K, Bakker J, Bekker R (1997) Soil seed banks of North West Europe: methodology, density and longevity. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar