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Species Interactions in a Successional Grassland. II. Colonization of Vegetated Sites

D. R. Peart
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 77, No. 1 (Mar., 1989), pp. 252-266
DOI: 10.2307/2260928
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2260928
Page Count: 15
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Species Interactions in a Successional Grassland. II. Colonization of Vegetated Sites
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Abstract

(1) The colonization and inhibition abilities of species were identified as two essential and distinct components of competitive ability. These components can be quantified to evaluate species interactions and predict population and community change in a community where changes in abundance depend on colonization processes. (2) Colonization and inhibition abilities were quantified and compared in a patchy Californian grassland community. This was accomplished with an experimental study of the colonization of vegetated sites, using natural seed-rain densities. (3) The four most abundant perennial species, Anthoxanthum odoratum, Holcus lanatus, Deschampsia holciformis and Rytidosperma pilosum, differed greatly in colonizing ability, as measured by survival, growth and reproduction. All perennial species effectively inhibited colonization of their stands, but annual vegetation could be colonized by Anthoxanthum, and to a lesser degree by Holcus. (4) Species differences in colonizing ability depended in part on their different densities of seed rain, but there were major differences in intrinsic, per-seed colonizing ability as well. (5) In contrast, species differences in inhibition ability could be explained by above-ground biomass alone; intrinsic differences among species in their per-unit biomass inhibition effects were not important. (6) The findings led to definite predictions about successional change in undisturbed sites. These methods and results may have some quite general application to the analysis of population and community dynamics

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