Marteinsdóttir, B. (corresponding author, Bryndis.Marteinsdottir@botan.su.se): Institute of Biology, University of Iceland, Sturlugötu 7, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland. Present address: Department of Botany, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden. Svavarsdóttir, K. (Kristin.email@example.com): Soil Conservation Service, Keldnaholt, 112 Reykjavík, Iceland Thórhallsdóttir, T.E. (firstname.lastname@example.org): Institute of Biology, University of Iceland, Sturlugötu 7, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland.
Development of vegetation patterns in early primary succession
Article first published online: 28 JAN 2010
© 2010 International Association for Vegetation Science
Journal of Vegetation Science
Volume 21, Issue 3, pages 531–540, June 2010
How to Cite
Marteinsdóttir, B., Svavarsdóttir, K. and Thórhallsdóttir, T. E. (2010), Development of vegetation patterns in early primary succession. Journal of Vegetation Science, 21: 531–540. doi: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2009.01161.x
Co-ordinating Editor: Dr. Hans Henrik Bruun
- Issue published online: 13 APR 2010
- Article first published online: 28 JAN 2010
- Received 24 April 2009; Accepted 30 November 2009.
- Outwash plain;
- Seed bank;
- Seedling survival;
- Seed rain;
Question: We investigated colonisation filters in early plant community development on a glacial outwash plain. We asked if these were related to seed limitation or to a lack of safe sites, if topographical heterogeneity affected species patchiness and how species life cycles influence successional trajectories.
Location: An outwash plain (Skeiðarársandur) in southeast Iceland.
Methods: We identified surface heterogeneity at two different scales, ca. 10–15 cm (larger stones and established plants) and ca. 50 m (shallow depressions representing dry river beds) at two study sites. We quantified species cover, flowering plant density, seed production, seed rain, seed bank density, seedling emergence and seedling survival from June 2005 to June 2007 for the whole plant community, and measured seed production for five species.
Results: Mean vegetation cover was <2.5% at the sites. Low emergence rates and high seedling mortality were the two main recruitment filters. Only 1.4% of seedlings emerging in 2005 survived into the 2007 growing season. Topographical heterogeneity had little effect on plant colonisation. High annual variation was recorded, and the two study sites (ca. 2 km apart) differed in their colonisation success. Of the five species, establishment of Cerastium alpinum and Silene uniflora was most limited by lack of seeds, whereas establishment of Luzula spicata, Poa glauca and Rumex acetosella was most limited by safe sites.
Conclusions: We conclude that colonisation processes and patterns in early primary succession on Skeiðarársandur were largely influenced by stochastic factors.