Seed rain, seedling establishment and clonal growth strategies on a glacier foreland

Stöcklin, Jürg and Baumler, E.. (1996) Seed rain, seedling establishment and clonal growth strategies on a glacier foreland. Journal of Vegetation Science, 7 (1). pp. 45-56.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5252323

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Seed production, composition of the seed rain. germination, and seedling mortality, as well as vegetative growth characteristics of common pioneer plant species were studied on the foreland of the retreating Morteratsch glacier in the Swiss Alps. The frequency of diaspores trapped in different successional stages was related to their dispersal mode and was highly skewed towards a few species. Plenty of diaspores well adapted for dispersal by wind are a precondition for the most important pioneer species. Seeds from all pioneer species investigated had a good germination success, provided that the moisture content of the soil was high enough. However, requirement for seedling establishment differed among sites of increasing terrain age and among species. Only specialized pioneers such as Cerastium pedunculatum. Linaria alpina, Oxyria digyna and Saxifraga alzoides tolerate the cold and moist conditions near the glacier. However, these species are restricted to early successional stages. Seedlings of Epilobium fleischeri are affected not only by the cold and moist conditions near the glacier but also by moderately dry conditions on older sites, Availability of safe sites becomes crucial for most species with increasing age of sites and with drier conditions. Most species playing a dominant role during early succession and persisting during later successional stages have a distinctive ability to spr ead clonally and have a growth form with more or less widely spaced ramets: Achillea moschata, Cerastium pedunculatum, Epilobium fleischeri and Hieracium staticifolium. The growth strategy and demography of the clonal E. fleischeri is presented as an example. The life cycle of this species is characterized in succession by (1) the colonization of safe sites by small seeds adapted for wind dispersal, (2) horizontal spread by clonal growth, and (3) the persistence through phenotypic morphological plasticity in later successional stages. Seedling establishment and clonal growth are thus complementary mechanisms in plant succession on recently deglaciated terrain.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Pflanzenökologie (Körner)
UniBasel Contributors:Stöcklin, Jürg
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Opulus Press
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:14 Nov 2017 08:11
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 13:43

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