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Title: Effects of experimental canopy gaps on mangrove recruitment: lack of habitat partitioning may explain stand dominance
Contributor(s): Clarke, PJ  (author)
Publication Date: 2004
DOI: 10.1111/j.0022-0477.2004.00861.x
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Abstract: 1. Few species of Indo-pacific mangroves co-occur at spatial scales of canopy gaps despite environmental heterogeneity and a flora that has varied physiological and morphological traits, but experiments on why such communities are species poor are uncommon.2. Lack of habitat partitioning, in concert with competitive exclusion, may explain low species richness at canopy gap scales. This study examined whether mangrove recruitment differs among species with respect to the effect of forest gap size, ground disturbance, position along an intertidal gradient and canopy membership.3. The canopy of a tropical mangrove forest in northern Australia was experimentally manipulated to create two gap sizes (50 m2 and 225 m2) in low and high intertidal forests with or without sediment disturbance. Propagules of six species, from three mangrove families, were sown into treatments and their predation, establishment, growth and survival measured for 5 years.4. All species established, and five survived, in canopy gaps in both high and low intertidal positions. Interspecific difference in establishment, growth and survival of seedlings in two intertidal positions were not closely matched to canopy membership and hence this does not explain zonation.5. No seedlings survived under the canopy and there was little evidence for shade-tolerant species. The interactions between canopy treatments and sediment disturbance that would have indicated gap partitioning were not detected. Seedling growth and survival was enhanced in large canopy gaps but there were no growth differences among species that matched canopy membership of plots.6. Most species appear to be able to recruit in canopy gaps if there is no dispersal limitation. Rather, the range of species available to fill gaps is limited because predation of propagules advantages species that are from the adjacent canopy. Lack of partitioning of resources within gaps by species may result in the exclusion of competitors that are not canopy members, further reducing coexistence.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Journal of Ecology, 92(2), p. 203-213
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Place of Publication: London
ISSN: 0022-0477
Field of Research (FOR): 060703 Plant Developmental and Reproductive Biology
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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