Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Brian J. Wilsey
Kirk A. Moloney
Plants and their ramets often occur through space in non-random arrangements, potentially due to effects of local dispersal, competition with neighbors, and heterogeneity in the environment. Given that a plant's potential influence on others is limited in space, such plant pattern likely affects community dynamics. The studies presented further our understanding of effects of plant pattern by addressing if, and in what ways, fine-scale plant arrangement affects perennial grassland communities. In restored grasslands, I found that seeding method affected pattern formation, likely due to effects of altering local seed density and the depth at which seeds were sown. In these grasslands, fine-scale plant arrangement explained aspects of invader abundance that were not accounted for by plot-scale richness and evenness measures. In an experimental system, initial plant arrangement was related to subsequent invasion, but hypotheses concerning effects of arrangement on species coexistence were not supported. In total, these findings suggest that plant pattern may affect communities independently of the number and abundances of the species present and have implications for how practitioners might use knowledge of effects of initial plant arrangement to improve restoration success. Future studies will assess the mechanisms that underlie these responses and continue to investigate if restoration success may be improved by altering initial plant arrangement.
Kathryn Anne Yurkonis
Yurkonis, Kathryn Anne, "Effects of fine-scale plant arrangement on grassland establishment" (2010). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 11183.