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Community Ecology

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 1–9 | Cite as

Distribution of plant communities, ecological strategy types and diversity along a moisture gradient

  • I. ZelnikEmail author
  • A. Čarni
Article

Abstract

The influence of water regime on the zonation of wetland communities, distribution patterns of plant species, ecological strategies and biodiversity, was studied in this work. Vegetation of the herbaceous wetland was sampled along a transect, in accordance with the standard central European method. Water level was also measured. The changes in plant species composition, plant functional types (ecological strategies, life forms) and diversity were studied. Classification of vegetation relevés enabled the definition of five grassland communities. The same pattern remained in DCA ordination also when the species matrix was replaced with a matrix of ecological strategies. Relevés were always segregated into distinct plant communities and distributed along the moisture gradient in the same way. Biodiversity is strongly negatively correlated with moisture–it is decreasing with decreasing ground level. Plant ecological strategy types (C-S-R) change significantly along the transect as well. In communities thriving on the driest sites (Triseto-Centaureetum), there are three times more C- than C-S-strategists, while in the wettest sites (Caricetum elatae) C-S-strategists predominate over C-strategists by almost two times. At the same time R-and C-R-strategists, as well as therophytes, which are present in drier sites almost disappear in the wettest sites. We show that the moisture gradient essentially influences the distribution pattern of plant communities, species diversity, and manifestation of certain ecological strategy types.

Keywords

Biodiversity Marsh Plant functional types Vegetation Wet meadow 

Abbreviations

DCA

Detrended Correspondence Analysis

C-S-R

Competitors-Stress tolerators-Ruderals (strategy types)

WPGMA

Weighted Pair Group Method with Averaging

Ce

Caricetum elatae

Cv

Caricetum vulpinae

AJ

Agrostio-Juncetum conglomerati

SD

Succisello-Deschampsietum cespitosae

TC

Triseto-Centaureetum

Nomenclature

Ehrendorfer (1973) for taxa, Ellmauer and Mucina (1993) Balátová-Tuláčková et al. (1993) Zelnik (2005b, 2007) for syntaxa 

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© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2008

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of BiologyScientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and ArtsLjubljanaSlovenia

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