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Herbivory in Sun versus Shade at a Natural Meadow-Woodland Ecotone in the Rocky Mountains

Svaťa M. Louda, Philip M. Dixon and Nancy J. Huntly
Vegetatio
Vol. 72, No. 3 (Nov. 15, 1987), pp. 141-149
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20038211
Page Count: 9
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Herbivory in Sun versus Shade at a Natural Meadow-Woodland Ecotone in the Rocky Mountains
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Abstract

We examined herbivore damage in a natural association in order to evaluate the hypothesis that herbivory is generally greater in the shade (Maiorana 1981). Damage was measured in relation to habitat, adult plant distribution, and plant size for 13 species of native herbaceous forbs that cross the natural shade/sun ecotone at the interface of montane meadow and aspen (Populus tremuloides) woodland. Eight of the 13 species had statistically significant differences in leaf area damaged between sun and shade individuals (p<0.05). Only 3 of those were more damaged in shade (Aquilegia coerulea, Epilobium angustifolium, and Galium biflorum), while six were more damaged in the sun (Delphinium nelsoni, Helianthella quinquenervis, Lupinus argenteus, Thalictrum fendleri, and Vicia americana). No pattern was detected for 5: Erigeron speciosus, Fragaria ovalis, Lathyrus leucanthus, Viguiera multiflora, and Viola nuttallii. Levels of herbivory were species-specific rather than habitat-related. Thus, the shade habitat hypothesis must be rejected for our system, and the null hypothesis accepted for this natural assemblage. Herbivory within the shade was generally related to plant and leaf size. Two equally common community level patterns of loss occurred in relation to plant distribution. These were: 1. frequency-related, where herbivory was higher in the habitat of highest adult plant occurrence, and 2. inversely-related, where herbivory was higher in the habitat where plants were less common.

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