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Journal Article

Competition and Coexistence in a North Carolina Grassland: I. Patterns in Undisturbed Vegetation

Norma Fowler and Janis Antonovics
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 69, No. 3 (Nov., 1981), pp. 825-841
DOI: 10.2307/2259639
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2259639
Page Count: 17
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Competition and Coexistence in a North Carolina Grassland: I. Patterns in Undisturbed Vegetation
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Abstract

(1) The phenological and spatial patterns of the plant species found in a mown field in the Piedmont region of North Carolina were described, as part of a study of the nature of the interactions among the plant species in this community. (2) Most of the species present showed one of two distinct phenological patterns with little overlap in season of growth, and accordingly were classified as warm season or cool season species. (3) It was concluded that seasonal separation of growth accounts for the continuing coexistence of these two groups of species. It is suggested that variations in abundance from year to year are also important to the coexistence of species. (4) Two methods were used to investigate the spatial distribution of species in the study site, a neighbouring point analysis devised for this study and based upon pairs of points 2.8 cm apart, and an ordination analysis of quadrats. The results of these two analyses were in agreement. Each contributed information not available from the other. (5) The species can be separated into two distinct associations. Quadrats fall on a continuum whose end points are these associations. (6) The vegetational pattern is correlated with the depth of the soil above a clay layer, and perhaps with the frequency of local disturbances. (7) The relationship of spatial pattern to the interactions among species is discussed.

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