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Nurse plant effect of the cushion plant Silene acaulis (L.) Jacq. in an alpine environment in the subarctic Scandes, Sweden
Responsible organisation
2009 (English)In: Plant Ecology & Diversity, Vol. 2, no 1, p. 17-25Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Facilitation plays important roles in the structuring of plant communities and several studies have found that it tends to increase with environmental severity in alpine plant communities. In addition, cushion plants have been shown to act as nurse plants, moderating extreme environmental conditions, and providing resources for other species, with substantial effects on local plant diversity. Aims: This study addresses the nurse plant effects of Silene acaulis – a common, circumpolar alpine plant species with a compact cushion-forming growth form – along an altitude transect in the mid- to high-alpine zones in northern Sweden. Methods: The numbers of species in paired S. acaulis cushions and identical-sized control plots along an altitude transect between 1150 m and 1450 m above sea level were compared, and differences in species composition were analysed. Results: At altitudes above c. 1280 m, but not at lower altitudes, more species were found inside the cushions than in their paired control plots. Species composition was similar inside cushions and in control plots. Conclusions: Our results suggest that S. acaulis acts as a nurse plant at altitudes higher than a certain threshold (c. 1280 m at the investigated site). It appears to play an important role in creating focal points for local vascular plant diversity in high-alpine environments, where vegetation is open and occurs in small patches.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis , 2009. Vol. 2, no 1, p. 17-25
National Category
Natural Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:polar:diva-8074DOI: 10.1080/17550870902926504OAI: oai:DiVA.org:polar-8074DiVA, id: diva2:1287857
Available from: 2019-02-12 Created: 2019-02-12 Last updated: 2019-02-12

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf