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Population Biology of Clintonia Borealis: I. Ramet and Patch Dynamics

L. F. Pitelka, S. B. Hansen and J. W. Ashmun
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 73, No. 1 (Mar., 1985), pp. 169-183
DOI: 10.2307/2259776
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2259776
Page Count: 15
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Population Biology of Clintonia Borealis: I. Ramet and Patch Dynamics
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Abstract

(1) Demographic patterns are described for two sets of patches of Clintonia borealis, a perennial herb, each studied over a 3-year period. Rates of mortality, clonal growth and net ramet population growth are reported for all sixteen studied patches individually and as two sets of pooled data. (2) Overall ramet mortality rates were size-dependent and low (3· 9-6· 1%). Rates of clonal growth were low to moderate (5· 0-20· 6%). Most ramets replaced themselves each year with similar-sized ramets. Although flowering and fruiting occurred, no successful recruitment of new plants from seed was observed. (3) More biomass was allocated to flowers and fruits than to clonal growth. Clonal growth was not reduced by flowering nor vice versa. (4) The environments of individual patches varied widely in terms of light and soil moisture, and there were some differences in the rates of ramet mortality and clonal growth. However, all patches had annual rates of increase in ramet number of between 2 and 20%. (5) Excavations of entire rhizome systems of small patches showed that such patches often consisted of only one or two genets. Patches of only 2-12 ramets typically had ages of 20 years or more. Larger patches may be considerably older and composed of only one or a few genets. (6) Established genets have long lives, little selection occurs in established patches, and most genets must have broad ecological tolerances.

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