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A density-dependent model of Cirsium vulgare population dynamics using field-estimated parameter values

Abstract

Two versions of a stage-structured model of Cirsium vulgare population dynamics were developed. Both incorporated density dependence at one stage in the life cycle of the plant. In version 1 density dependence was assumed to operate during germination whilst in version 2 it was included at the seedling stage. Density-dependent parameter values for the model were estimated from annual census data in a factorial grazing experiment. Version 1 of the model produced significant estimates of density dependence under field conditions. The estimated values, when included in a simulation of the dynamics, produced two-point limit cycles under conditions of hard grazing. The limit cycles were most pronounced at the early rosette stage. Comparison of the effects of density dependence at the two different stages in the life cycle revealed a strong difference in predicted dynamics. This emphasizes the importance of determining where density dependence operates under field conditions and the potential problems of arbitrarily assigning it to particular life-history stages. Version 1 of the model produced a good prediction of observed mean plant density across the different grazing treatments (r 2=0.81, P<0.001).

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Gillman, M., Bullock, J.M., Silvertown, J. et al. A density-dependent model of Cirsium vulgare population dynamics using field-estimated parameter values. Oecologia 96, 282–289 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00317743

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Key words

  • Population dynamics
  • Stage-structured model
  • Density dependence
  • Field parameter estimates
  • Cirsium vulgare