Interspecific differences in determinants of plant distribution in industrially polluted areas: Endogenous spatial autocorrelation vs. environmental parameters
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Background and Aims
Interspecific differences have been clearly shown in the contribution of endogenous spatial autocorrelation (caused by dispersal) to the spatial structure of undisturbed vegetation. However, this phenomenon has not been studied in industrially polluted areas, where heavy metals’ excess is traditionally considered to be the main driver of ecosystem processes. We compare the contributions of endogenous autocorrelation and environmental parameters to the distribution of herbaceous plants in open and forested sites heavily polluted with copper smelter emissions.
Principal coordinates of neighbour matrices were used to create spatial predictors that were incorporated into beta regression models together with environmental predictors. Their importance for species’ spatial structure was assessed using multimodel inference and variation partitioning approach.
Equisetum sylvaticum, Leucanthemum vulgare, Tussilago farfara, Carex rostrata, Scirpus sylvaticus and Deschampsia cespitosa responded strongly to soil toxicity, while Agrostis capillaris and Lychnis flos-cuculi, to microtopography and tree disposition. Endogenous autocorrelation was strongly pronounced in L. flos-cuculi distribution across all study sites and was substantial for A. capillaris in open areas.
Despite the extreme level of soil toxicity, the importance of other environmental parameters and endogenous autocorrelation remarkably differed among species, resulting from interspecific differences in ecological preferences and dispersal mode.
KeywordsDispersal limitation Heavy metal Herbaceous plant PCNM Soil toxicity Spatial autocorrelation
We appreciate E.L. Vorobeichik for discussion of the results, and anonymous referees for their helpful comments. We thank I.E. Bergman and T.Yu. Gabershtein for the help in data collection. This study was supported by Russian Foundation for Basic Research (14-04-31345; 12-04-32116), the Scientific School Support Program (NSh-2840.2014.4) and the Program of Basic Research of the Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences (12-P-4-1026).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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