Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gaps: Determinants of Community Structure

23.01.2004


Many types of vegetation have more or less ground cover and recruitment of new individuals often occurs only in temporarily empty patches or gaps. Ever since Watt’s (1947) Presidential address to the BES, the Journal of Ecology has been publishing the results of investigations into the importance of processes in such gaps in the determination of community structure. Three recent papers from Norway, the UK and the USA (Vandvik 2004, Turnbull et al. 2004 and Ewanchuk and Bertness, 2004, respectively - all in volume 92, issue 1), report different approaches to addressing this issue.



Working in salt marches in New England, USA, Ewanchuk and Bertness show that the recolonisation of gaps generated by ice scour is slow and driven by competitive processes. Parts of these marshes consist of patches of sparse, but species-rich, vegetation dominated by non-grassy herbaceous plants (forbs). These areas were found to be inhospitable to plants which grew well nearby, suggesting physical limitation at the local scale, while the forbs were restricted to these patches by interspecific competition.

Vandvik showed that revegetation of gaps in subalpine grassland in Norway depended upon gap size and grassland age along a gradient of secondary succession. The degree to which individual species depended on gaps for regeneration changed as the disturbance regime altered during succession, with such gap phase processes being important for a majority (74%) of species in the system. Taking a more mechanistic and small-scale approach, Turnbull et al. also found that most species of annuals in a limestone grassland showed a preference for colonizing unvegetated patches. Through a series of exacting and careful measurements of individual plants and neighbourhood modeling they derived individual-level competition coefficients for seven annuals. Seed size was found to be a key trait determining both competitive and colonizing ability.


Together these three papers, along with others recently published in this journal (e.g., Christie and Armesto 2003, Dalling et al., 2002; Pearson et al. 2003), highlight the importance of gap-phase processes and illustrate a scaling up of population level phenomena based upon competitive interactions in determining community structure.

Becky Allen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.britishecologicalsociety.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>