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Ecology and distribution of Tephroseris longifolia subsp. moravica in relation to environmental variation at a micro-scale

Research paper by Monika Janišová, Katarína Hegedüšová, Pavol Kráľ, Iveta Škodová

Indexed on: 10 Jan '12Published on: 10 Jan '12Published in: Biologia



Abstract

Tephroseris longifolia subsp. moravica is an endemic endangered taxon of European importance. Within the nine recently known populations it occurs in very specific site conditions of ecotone habitats. In our contribution, we try to quantify its realized niche with regard to the measured components of its biotic and abiotic environment. The main aim was to assess the importance of spatial environmental variation on taxon occurrence and performance and to relate the obtained ecological information to data on taxon abundance and demography. Possible reasons of taxon rarity are discussed, too. Comparison of plot pairs indicated that plots containing the taxon had deeper soil and higher soil Na and Mg contents than plots without it. They also contained higher number of species, especially forbs. Several soil parameters were positively correlated with taxon size and density while light parameters played minor role. Negative correlations between cover of vascular plants, especially grasses and taxon size and density suggest its reduced competitive ability. Vascular plant-based ecological indicator values were set for light (6), temperature (5), continentality (4), moisture (5), soil reaction (7) and nutrients (5). The studied sites differed in topography, soil characteristics (pH, soil Na, K, Ca, P and NH4) and cover of herb litter. Size of taxon populations was negatively related to their finite rate of increase which varied between 1.25 and 2.04 and was most sensitive to demographic parameters related to growth. We conclude, that the studied taxon is not strictly stenotopic as the ranges of several environmental variables were rather wide. We suppose, that the narrow limits of recent taxon occurrence are consequences of its low competitive ability and demographic processes related to germination and seedling establishment. The differing requirements of its ontogenetic stages (seedlings and generative individuals) may define the final limits of its small-scale distribution.