Concurrent biotic interactions influence plant performance at their altitudinal distribution margins
2014 (English)In: Oikos, ISSN 0030-1299, E-ISSN 1600-0706, Vol. 123, no 8, 943-952 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Recent studies have shown that biotic interactions can shape species’ distributions, but empirical data on multiple biotic interactions are scarce. Therefore, we examined effects of plant-plant and plant-herbivore interactions on plant survival, growth and reproduction at different altitudes. For these purposes we conducted a factorial neighbor removal and large herbivore exclusion experiment with six transplant species (three tall forbs with their main distribution at low altitudes and three small forbs with their main distribution at high altitudes) on Låktačohkka Mountain, northern Sweden, replicated at two altitudes (ca. 600 and 900 m a.s.l.) and consequently a 2.1 °C difference in summer air temperatures. Overall transplant survival was 93%. Two out of three tall forbs grew better at low than at high altitudes, while no significant differences in growth between altitudes were found for any of the three small forbs. Since the main difference in abiotic conditions between the altitudes was most likely in temperature (as the sites were topographically and edaphically matched as closely as possible), this result indicates that climatic warming could induce upward migration of tall low-altitude forbs. Negative plant-plant interactions prevailed at both altitudes, and we found indications that competition may set the lower altitudinal limits of some small tundra forbs. Thus, increased competition in response to climate warming may potentially shift the lower margins of high-altitude forbs’ distributions upward. Large mammalian grazers reduced the growth of tall forbs and enhanced the flowering of small forbs, and grazers could thus at least partly counteract the anticipated warming-induced distribution shifts.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2014. Vol. 123, no 8, 943-952 p.
Ecology Environmental Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-85206DOI: 10.1111/oik.01261ISI: 000340664700006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-85206DiVA: diva2:692124