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Population Dynamics of the Moss Polytrichum Piliferum in North-East Scotland

V. J. Hobbs and N. M. Pritchard
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 75, No. 1 (Mar., 1987), pp. 177-192
DOI: 10.2307/2260543
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2260543
Page Count: 16
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Population Dynamics of the Moss Polytrichum Piliferum in North-East Scotland
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Abstract

(1) We studied the population dynamics and colony development of the moss Polytrichum piliferum at three sites in N. E. Scotland, using both historical reconstruction of colony growth and direct recording of shoot demography. (2) There were two main types of colony, a dense-centred circular colony by the sides of vehicle tracks at low altitudes and an advancing `wave' type in exposed conditions at high altitudes. The form of colony development was determined mainly by the number and location of new shoots and less by their subsequent patterns of survival. (3) Maximum shoot production occurred in warm, wet conditions. These were usually in the summer in trackside and montane colonies, but in the autumn in colonies in sand dunes, where water availability was the most important factor. Shoot loss was highest in spring in the trackside colonies and in summer in the sand dune colonies. (4) We discuss the factors affecting the production and death of shoots and the pattern of colony development in relation to the environment.

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