Dewsbury, Bryan , Koptur, Suzanne , Fourqurean, James .
Biodiversity and biogeochemical patterns along a chronosequence in a pine rockland habitat.
Pine rocklands are critically endangered habitat whose community structure is primarily determined by periodic fire. In south Florida, slash and burn agirculture by native indians and modern day development have reduced this habitat to approximately 3% of its original acreage. Experiments in pine rocklands typically focus on the nature, periodicity and spatial scale of the fires that are responsible for keeping this ecosystem in a state of early succession. These studies suggest that periodic natural fires are necessary to allow clearance of the understory, and facilitate the growth of specific species. In the absence of fire, a buildup of organic matter can cause a shift in species composition and ultimately community structure. While the delivery and timing of fires in this system have been well-studied, the biogeochemical changes that occue in the absence of fire are not as well understood. We sampled various sites in a pine rockland system to quantify the bottom-up effects on plant community structure in this system, and to characterize how this relationship might change in the absence of fire over large temporal scales. In this study we used the different burn schedules of spatially variant pine rocklands in Long Pine Key, Everglades National Park, Florida, to construct a chronosequence representing possibly different successional stages of this ecosystem. For logistical ease, as well as to draw comparisons to a parallel study in seagrass beds, we surveyed each site for mid level shrub species only, ignoring grasses, sedges and large (>6 feet) trees. We report that recently burned sites heavily favored the presence of Ardisia escallonoides, Morinda royoc and low coverage of Myrica cerifera. Sites burnt ten years ago had high coverage of both Serenoa repens and Sabal palmetto. Other mid level shrubs varied highly between and within sites.
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1 - Florida International University, Biology Department / Fourqurean Lab, 11200 SW 8th St, Miami, FL, 33199, USA
2 - Florida International University, Department Of Biological Sciences, 11200 SW 8th St, Miami, FL, 33199, USA
3 - Florida International University, Biological Sciences, 11200 SW 8th Street, OE 167, Miami, FL Florida, 33199, USA
Everglades National Park
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Location: Khorassan Ballroom/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011
Time: 5:30 PM