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Title:Interactions between habitat and ungulate herbivory limit the spread of Ipomopsis aggregata (polemoniaceae)
Author(s):Scott, Eric R.
Advisor(s):Paige, Ken N.
Department / Program:School of Integrative Biology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Ipomopsis aggregata
scarlet gilia
mule deer
Abstract:Both abiotic conditions and herbivores have been shown to limit the distribution of plants. This study investigates interactive effects of habitat quality and ungulate herbivory on the fitness of a monocarpic wildflower, scarlet gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata) to further elucidate reasons for its absence in nutrient rich montane meadows in Flagstaff, AZ. Scarlet gilia is commonly found on slopes with disturbed and relatively nutrient poor soil. Using transplant experiments in 1992 and 2002, we show that higher levels of soil nutrients have an opposite effect on plants protected from herbivores and those exposed to herbivores, whereby protected plants show increased growth and fitness and unprotected plants experience increased levels of herbivory by deer and elk leading to severe undercompensation for herbivory. In a more in-depth study in 2009 no interaction between site and herbivory is detectible, and instead plants transplanted to the nutrient-rich montane meadow perform significantly worse regardless of herbivory. Differences among years may be due to differences in precipitation or differences in transplanting methods that may affect the ability of transplants to gain access to soil nutrients. Other aspects of montane meadows such as lower levels of disturbance and increased belowground competition may also have fitness impacts on scarlet gilia and may limit its establishment in these habitats.
Issue Date:2010-05-18
Rights Information:Copyright 2010 Eric R. Scott
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-05-18
Date Deposited:May 2010

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