, Volume 71, Issue 1, pp 156–158 | Cite as

Population cycles caused by overcompensating density-dependence in an annual plant

  • E. Symonides
  • J. Silvertown
  • V. Andreasen
Short Communications


We analyse demographic data from a seven-year study of the annual crucifer Erophila verna which showed two-year cycles of abundance in the field. The unusual behaviour of this population is shown to be the consequence of overcompensating density-dependence. Very local differences in germination succes between plots can account for observed differences in their population dynamics over the long term.

Key words

Erophila Demography Density-dependence Germination 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Antonovics J, Levin DA (1980) The ecological and genetic consequences of density-dependent regulation in plants. Ann Rev Ecol Syst 11:411–452Google Scholar
  2. Crawley MJ (1983) Herbivory. Blackwell Scientific Publications, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  3. Hassell MP, Lawton JH, May RM (1976) Patterns of dynamical behaviour in single-species populations. J Anim Ecol 45:471–486Google Scholar
  4. May RM (1975) Biological populations obeying difference equations: Stable points, stable cycles and chaos. J Theoret Biol 51:511–524Google Scholar
  5. Silvertown JW (1982) Introduction to plant population ecology Longman, Harlow and NYGoogle Scholar
  6. Symonides E (1983a) Population size regulation as a result of intrapopulation interactions I. Effect of density on the survial of individuals of Erophila verna (L.) C.A.M. Ekol Polska 31:839–881Google Scholar
  7. Symonides E (1983b) Population size regulation as a result of intrapopulation interactions II. Effect of density on the growth rate, morphological diversity and fecundity of Erophila verna (L.) C.A.M. individuals. Ekol Polska 31:883–912Google Scholar
  8. Symonides E (1984) Population size regulation as a result of intrapopulation interactions III. Effect of Erophila verna (L.) C.A.M. population density on the abundance of the new generation of seedlings. Summing-up and conclusions. Ekol Polska 32:557–580Google Scholar
  9. Thomas WR, Pomerantz MJ, Gilpin ME (1980) Chaos, assymmetric growth and group selection for dynamical stability. Ecology 61:1312–1320Google Scholar
  10. Watkinson AR (1985) Plant responses to crowding. Ch. 18, pp 275–289 in White, J. (ed.) Studies on plant demography. Academic Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  11. Watkinson AR, Harper JL (1978) The demography of a sand dune annual Vulpia fasiculata: I. The natural regulation of populations. J Ecol 66:15–33Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Symonides
    • 1
  • J. Silvertown
    • 2
  • V. Andreasen
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of BotanyWarsaw UniversityWarsawPoland
  2. 2.Section of Ecology & SystematicsCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

Personalised recommendations