Factors Controlling Species Richness in Alpine Plant Communities: An Assessment of the Importance of Stress and Disturbance

Kammer, Peter M.; Möhl, Adrian (2002). Factors Controlling Species Richness in Alpine Plant Communities: An Assessment of the Importance of Stress and Disturbance. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 34(4), pp. 398-407. Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado at Boulder 10.2307/1552197

[img] Text
AAAR_34_398.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (549kB) | Request a copy

This study explores whether the high variability of vascular plant diversity among alpine plant communities can be explained by stress and/or disturbance intensities. Species numbers of 14 alpine plant communities were sampled in the Swiss Alps. To quantify the intensity of 13 stress and 6 disturbance factors potentially controlling plant life in these communities, a survey was conducted by asking numerous specialists in alpine vegetation to assess the importance of the different factors for each community. The estimated values were combined in stress- and disturbance-indices which were compared with diversity according to the Intermediate Stress Hypothesis, the Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis, and the Dynamic Equilibrium Model, respectively. Each of these theories explained a part of the variability in the species richness, but only the Dynamic Equilibrium Model provided a complete and consistent explanation. The last model suggests that community species richness within the alpine life zone is generally controlled by stress intensity. Disturbance and competition seem to play a secondary role by fine-tuning diversity in specific communities. As diversity is primarily limited by stress, a moderation of temperature-related stress factors, as a result of global warming, may cause a shift of the equilibrium between stress, disturbance, and competition in alpine ecosystems.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

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

UniBE Contributor:

Möhl, Adrian

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

1523-0430

Publisher:

Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado at Boulder

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

04 Dec 2015 17:14

Last Modified:

13 Jul 2016 11:11

Publisher DOI:

10.2307/1552197

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.73358

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/73358

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback