Spatial autocorrelation and dispersal in mistletoes: Field and simulation results

  • Overton J
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The infections of two species of mistletoes in Baja California, Mexico
were investigated for spatial patterns of abundance, and for an effect
of the dispersal patterns of mistletoe seeds on these spatial patterns.
Mistletoe distributions were mapped and the dispersal of mistletoe
seeds was observed. Most mistletoes seeds were dispersed locally
to the parent tree or to nearby trees. While mistletoe distributions
were highly clumped at the level of the individual tree, no spatial
pattern was found above the scale of the individual tree. Infected
trees were no more clumped than the overall host population, and
infected trees had no more mistletoes on nearby surrounding trees
than did uninfected trees. Trees showed no spatial autocorrelation
in the number of mistletoes they supported. Simulations using a spatially
explicit simulation model with local dispersal and stochasticity
in seed dispersal, host mortality, and mistletoe mortality were used
to interpret the field results. Simulation results suggest that dispersal
patterns affect the overall level of variance in the number of mistletoes
per tree but do not lead to spatial patterns in abundance above the
scale of the tree. Thus, both simulation and field systems give the
surprising result that local dispersal does not lead to spatial autocorrelation
in the numbers of mistletoes per tree.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Dispersal
  • Mistletoes
  • Phoradendron californicum
  • Phrygilanthus sonorae
  • Scale
  • Spatial autocorrelation

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  • Jacob Mc C. Overton

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