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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Kroiss, Steve [1], Knight, Tiffany [1].

What limits the occupancy of rare plant species in restored habitats? A trait comparison between rare and widespread species in restored Missouri glades.

Understanding factors that limit species presence within restored habitats has been a longstanding goal of restoration ecology, especially interms of factors that govern differences in the relative rarity and commonness between species. While some species are widespread and abundant, others are locally abundant, but regionally rare. These differences in occupancy rates maybe heavily influenced by species traits since species traits may determine whether or not the species could persist locally when the habitat became degraded, and whether or not the species could recolonize when the habitat was restored. Traits important for allowing species to persist locally or disperse into restored habitats may include: wide habitat tolerances, clonality, perenniality,self-compatibility, wind dispersal, and small seed size. To determine if plant traits related to persistence or dispersal ability explain species occupancy patterns, I surveyed 32 restored glades in Missouri. I used a stepwise multiple regression analysis and AIC model selection to assess the extent to which the variance in species occupancy and abundance could be explained by a composite of the aforementioned species traits. The multiple regression analysis indicated that the traits most important for explaining species occupancy in restored glades were dispersal mechanism, habitat association, and life-form (R-squared: 0.32, p=0.03). The results of this study provide several important implications for the future of restoration efforts. First,our results serve to indicate species that may be in need of active seeding efforts in restored areas such as species with annual or biennial life-forms,gravity dispersed seeds, and specialization on early successional habitats. Conversely,species with perennial life-forms, wind dispersed seeds, and habitat associations that include mid-successional habitats are likely to become widespread after restoration on their own. Second, our results may also aid in the prioritizing of habitat conservation. For example, habitats that are diverse in species with poor dispersal and persistence traits should be prioritized for conservation as they could serve as seed sources for other restored areas.

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1 - Washington University, DEPARTMENT OF ZOOLOGY, One Brookings Drive, Box 1137, St. Louis, MO, 63130, USA

rare species
Functional Traits
species traits.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: 08
Location: Forsyth Room/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011
Time: 10:30 AM
Number: 08002
Abstract ID:494

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