Mechanistically derived dispersal kernels explain species-level patterns of recruitment and succession

Lauren L. Sullivan, Adam T. Clark, David Tilman, Allison K. Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Species-level dispersal information can give mechanistic insights into how spatial processes impact plant communities. Unfortunately, field-based estimates of the dispersal abilities of multiple members of a community are often lacking for many plant systems. Here, we provide a simple method for measuring dispersal ability for large numbers of grassland plant species based on functional traits. Using this method, we estimated the dispersal ability of 50 co-occurring grassland species using the Wald Analytical Long-distance Dispersal (WALD) model. Grassland plants species are often used for developing community theory, yet species-level estimates of their dispersal abilities are comparatively rare. We use these dispersal measurements to examine the relationship between species dispersal abilities and successional dynamics using data from a 90-yr old field chronosequence. We find that our estimated dispersal measurements matched field-based establishment observations well, and estimated species colonization, competitive, and establishment abilities. We hope that this method for measuring dispersal ability of multiple species within a community, and its demonstrated ability to generate predictions for spatial ecology, will encourage more studies of the explicit role of dispersal in plant community ecology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2415-2420
Number of pages6
JournalEcology
Volume99
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank J. Catford, P. Wragg, L. Messman, and M. Sagedahl for collection help; S. Johnson for electrical help; G. Fury, K. Kim-mel, K. Meyer, E. Strombom, and two anonymous reviewers for manuscript feedback; and the Early Career Writing Group for writing support. Funding for trait collection was provided by the University of Minnesota (U of M) Graduate Excellence Grant awarded to A. T. Clark; for vegetation surveys by the US NSF LTER Program (DEB 8114302, 8811884, 9411972, 0080382, 0620652, 1234162), CDR, and the U of M; for support of L. L. Sullivan by the LCCMR ENRTF (M.L. 2016, Chp. 186, Sec. 2, Subd. 08b), and startup funds from the U of M (to A. K. Shaw); and for support of A. T. Clark by an NSF GRF, base award number 00006595, and the Balzan Prize Foundation (awarded to D. Til-man); and for publication by sDiv. L. L. Sullivan and A. T. Clark contributed equally to this manuscript. A. T. Clark collected trait data, L. L. Sullivan and A. T. Clark analyzed data and wrote the initial draft; all authors edited and improved the manuscript.

Funding Information:
We thank J. Catford, P. Wragg, L. Messman, and M. Sagedahl for collection help; S. Johnson for electrical help; G. Fury, K. Kimmel, K. Meyer, E. Strombom, and two anonymous reviewers for manuscript feedback; and the Early Career Writing Group for writing support. Funding for trait collection was provided by the University of Minnesota (U of M) Graduate Excellence Grant awarded to A. T. Clark; for vegetation surveys by the US NSF LTER Program (DEB 8114302, 8811884, 9411972, 0080382, 0620652, 1234162), CDR, and the U of M; for support of L. L. Sullivan by the LCCMR ENRTF (M.L. 2016, Chp. 186, Sec. 2, Subd. 08b), and startup funds from the U of M (to A. K. Shaw); and for support of A. T. Clark by an NSF GRF, base award number 00006595, and the Balzan Prize Foundation (awarded to D. Tilman); and for publication by sDiv. L. L. Sullivan and A. T. Clark contributed equally to this manuscript. A. T. Clark collected trait data, L. L. Sullivan and A. T. Clark analyzed data and wrote the initial draft; all authors edited and improved the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the Ecological Society of America

Keywords

  • WALD model
  • colonization
  • competition
  • dispersal
  • establishment
  • propagule pressure
  • seed traits
  • spatial ecology
  • succession
  • terminal velocity

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