Assessment of wind dispersal potential in plant species

  • Tackenberg O
  • Poschlod P
  • Bonn S
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Abstract

Conventional plant dispersal classification systems use simple binary assignment schemes classifying each species as either being dispersed by means of a certain dispersal vector or not. However, because the dispersal potential ranges continually, this dichotomy appears to be rather artificial, and the existing systems may not be very useful for addressing ecological questions. To quantify gradual differences in the dispersal potential, we developed a system assessing wind dispersal potentials. Wind dispersal potential is defined as the proportion of diaspores exceeding a predefined reference distance under certain weather conditions,, to acknowledge that wind dispersal potential is scale and context specific. The system is based on an independently validated simulation model of wind dispersal that was used to compute the proportion of diaspores exceeding predefined reference distances. On an ordinal scale, the proposed system allows one to assess the wind dispersal potential of any plant species with known falling velocity and release height of its diaspores without further computing. The system mainly relies on two traits characterizing the plant species (failing velocity and initial release height of the diaspores) and two context-specific parameters (reference distance and weather conditions). We examined how wind dispersal potential is sensitive to these factors and found that it was most sensitive to weather conditions and falling velocity. The species-specific traits interact with reference distance: the greater the reference distance and the lower the release height in relation, the more relevant a low falling velocity becomes for achieving a high wind dispersal potential. We subsequently applied the system to 335 plant species and found a considerable variation in their wind dispersal potentials. Many species commonly assumed to be wind dispersed exhibit only a low wind dispersal potential Comparing the wind dispersal potentials to the morphology of the diaspores also reveals a considerable variation of the wind dispersal potential of species classified as the same morphological type. The results show that the conventional assignment of a plant species to a certain mode of dispersal, Which is primarily based on the morphology of its diaspores, will often result in misleading conclusions regarding the dispersal potential of the respective species

Author-supplied keywords

  • ASSIGNMENT
  • CLASSIFICATION
  • COMPLEX TERRAIN
  • CONSEQUENCES
  • DISPERSAL
  • DISTANCE
  • DISTANCE SEED DISPERSAL
  • DISTANCES
  • Developed
  • FALL
  • HEIGHT
  • ITS
  • MODE
  • MODEL
  • MORPHOLOGY
  • PARAMETERS
  • PLUMED SEEDS
  • RANGE
  • RELEASE
  • REVEAL
  • REVEALS
  • SEED DISPERSAL
  • SHORT-TERM
  • SIMULATION-MODEL
  • STEADY WINDS
  • SYSTEM
  • TRAITS
  • TREE SEEDS
  • WIND
  • assessment
  • diaspore morphology
  • differences
  • dispersal distance spectra
  • dispersal probability
  • ecological
  • factors
  • falling velocity
  • in
  • long-distance dispersal
  • morphological
  • plant
  • plant dispersal
  • population
  • scale
  • seed morphology
  • simple
  • simulation
  • simulation model
  • species
  • species-specific
  • systems
  • use
  • variation
  • wind dispersal
  • wind dispersal model
  • wind dispersal potential

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  • PMID: 7046

Authors

  • O Tackenberg

  • P Poschlod

  • S Bonn

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