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The Competitive Relationship of Three Woodland Sedges and its Bearing on the Evolution of Ant-Dispersal of Carex pedunculata
Steven N. Handel
Vol. 32, No. 1 (Mar., 1978), pp. 151-163
Published by: Society for the Study of Evolution
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2407416
Page Count: 13
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Growth of Carex pedunculata, an antdispersed plant, in competition experiments (replacement series) with either C. platyphylla or C. plantaginea is much depressed compared with growth in monoculture, when measured by dry weight, number of rosettes, and number of flowering culms. These results occurred in experiments started with either seedlings or tillers. Seeds of C. pedunculata germinate immediately; seeds of the other species require overwintering. Such differences and the superior dispersal features of C. pedunculata suggest it behaves like a fugitive species in the mature forest, with ants occasionally transporting diaspores to unoccupied areas, including refuges such as rotting logs. If seeds are carried into favorable areas and germinate away from the commonly sympatric congeners, growth, seed set, and probably fitness of C. pedunculata increases. The combination of low competitive ability in these experiments and ant-dispersal of C. pedunculata supports the applicability of many theoretical approaches dealing with the role of dispersal in heterogeneous environments to forest herb communities.
Evolution © 1978 Society for the Study of Evolution