Habitat fragmentation and adaptation: a reciprocal replant-transplant experiment among 15 populations of Lychnis flos-cuculi

Bowman, Gillianne; Perret, Catherine; Hoehn, Sophie; Galeuchet, David J.; Fischer, Markus (2008). Habitat fragmentation and adaptation: a reciprocal replant-transplant experiment among 15 populations of Lychnis flos-cuculi. Journal of Ecology, 96(5), pp. 1056-1064. Oxford: Blackwell 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2008.01417.x

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1. Habitat fragmentation and variation in habitat quality can both affect plant performance, but their effects have rarely been studied in combination. We thus examined plant performance in response to differences in habitat quality for a species subject to habitat fragmentation, the common but declining perennial herb Lychnis flos-cuculi. 2. We reciprocally transplanted plants between 15 fen grasslands in north-east Switzerland and recorded plant performance for 4 years. 3. Variation between the 15 target sites was the most important factor and affected all measures of plant performance in all years. This demonstrates the importance of plastic responses to habitat quality for plant performance. 4. Plants from smaller populations produced fewer rosettes than plants from larger populations in the first year of the replant-transplant experiment. 5. Plant performance decreased with increasing ecological difference between grassland of origin and target grassland, indicating adaptation to ecological conditions. In contrast, plant performance was not influenced by microsatellite distance and hardly by geographic distance between grassland of origin and target grassland. 6. Plants originating from larger populations were better able to cope with larger ecological differences between transplantation site and site of origin. 7. Synthesis: In addition to the direct effects of target grasslands, both habitat fragmentation, through reduced population size, and adaptation to habitats of different quality, contributed to the performance of L. flos-cuculi. This underlines that habitat fragmentation also affects species that are still common. Moreover, it suggests that restoration projects involving L. flos-cuculi should use plant material from large populations living in habitats similar to the restoration site. Finally, our results bring into question whether plants in small habitat remnants will be able to cope with future environmental change.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Plant Ecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Fischer, Markus

ISSN:

0022-0477

Publisher:

Blackwell

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:08

Last Modified:

01 Sep 2015 08:09

Publisher DOI:

10.1111/j.1365-2745.2008.01417.x

Web of Science ID:

000258379800023

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/30117 (FactScience: 171965)

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