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Dispersal and microsite limitation of a rare alpine plant

Frei, Eva S. and Scheepens, J. F. and Stöcklin, Jürg. (2012) Dispersal and microsite limitation of a rare alpine plant. Plant Ecology, 213 (3). pp. 395-406.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A6001642

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Abstract

Knowledge on the limitation of plant species’ distributions is important for preserving alpine biodiversity, particularly when the loss of alpine habitats because of global warming or land use changes is faster than colonization of new habitats. We investigated the potential of the rare alpine plant Campanula thyrsoides L. to colonize grassland sites of different suitability on a small mountain plateau in the Swiss Alps. A total of 15 experimental sites were selected according to their differences in habitat suitability for adult C. thyrsoides, which was measured by the Beals index. At each site we applied a disturbance treatment, added seeds at different densi- ties and monitored the survival of seedlings over two consecutive years. The number of surviving seedlings was not positively related to habitat suitability for adult C. thyrsoides. Furthermore, C. thyrsoides appears to be strongly dispersal limited at the regional scale because seed addition to unoccupied habitats resulted in successful germination and survival of seedlings. Since an increase of seed density in already occupied sites did not affect the number of seedlings, we suggest that C. thyrsoides is microsite limited at the local scale. Microsite limitation is supported by the result that seedling survival of the species was enhanced in vegetation gaps created by disturbance. We conclude E. S. Frei (&) J. F. Scheepens, J. Sto ̈cklin Section of Plant Ecology, Institute of Botany, University of Basel, Scho ̈nbeinstrasse 6, 4056 Basel, Switzerland e-mail: eva.frei@unibas.ch that C. thyrsoides may become endangered in the future if environmental changes cause local extinction of populations. An appropriate management, such as a disturbance regime for enhancing recruitment in existing populations, may ensure the long-term sur- vival of this rare alpine plant species.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Pflanzenökologie (Körner)
UniBasel Contributors:Stöcklin, Jürg and Scheepens, Johannes and Frei, Eva Silvia
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Bibsysno:Link to catalogue
Publisher:Kluwer Academic Publishers
ISSN:1385-0237
e-ISSN:1573-5052
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Language:English
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Last Modified:13 Nov 2017 14:57
Deposited On:08 Nov 2012 16:15

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