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Title: Habitat insularity and fire response traits: evidence from a sclerophyll archipelago
Contributor(s): Clarke, PJ  (author)
Publication Date: 2002
DOI: 10.1007/s00442-002-0962-0
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Abstract: Rock outcrops are landscape features that may form habitat islands in a matrix of more widespread vegetation. The patterns of floristics, reproduction, gender, life span, growth forms, and fire response traits were compared between rock outcrops and matrix sclerophyll vegetation to test for insularity in taxon composition and functional traits. The outcrops and matrix had similar reproduction, gender, life span, and growth form traits, being dominated by co-sexual sclerophyll shrubs. The outcrops, however, were dissimilar in species composition and functional traits forming an archipelago of habitat islands in a forest matrix. Rank abundance curves were less even on rock outcrops than in adjacent forests, being dominated by shrubs that were killed by fire (obligate seeders). The ratio of shrubs killed by fire (obligate seeders) to resprouters was 70:30 on the outcrops compared with 38:62 in the matrix. Evidence for functional convergence in fire response traits comes from 27 genera, in 17 families, which have congeners in each habitat. Most shrub congeners on or near rocky outcrops were killed by fire whereas related taxa in the forests resprout after fire. Functional convergence can be related to disturbance frequency and/or differences in regeneration niche among habitats. A resprouting response appears to be related to more frequent fires in the matrix as outcrops experience fires less often. The dominance of obligate seeding shrubs on high rainfall outcrops may also be related to better resources in an environment where allocation to growth rather than storage could be advantageous. In drier and shadier habitats, however, resprouting may be promoted over seedling recruitment as the risks of recruitment failure are higher.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Oecologia, 132(4), p. 582-591
Publisher: Springer
Place of Publication: Germany
ISSN: 0029-8549
Field of Research (FOR): 060799 Plant Biology not elsewhere classified
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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