Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology


Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

First Advisor

Brian J. Wilsey

Second Advisor

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.


Copyright Owner

Kathryn Anne Yurkonis



Date Available


File Format


File Size

116 pages