Seed mobility and connectivity in changing rural landscapes
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
The success or failure of many organisms to respond to the challenges of habitat destruction and a warming climate lies in the ability of plant species to disperse between isolated habitats or to migrate to new ranges. European semi-natural grasslands represent one of the world's most species-rich habitats at small scales, but agricultural intensification during the 20th century has meant that many plant species are left only on small fragments of former habitat. It is important that these plants can disperse, both for the maintenance of existing populations, and for the colonisation of target species to restored grasslands. This thesis investigates the ecological, geographical and historical influences on seed dispersal and connectivity in semi-natural grasslands, and the mobility of plants through time and space. Seed dispersal by human activity has played a large role in the build-up of plant communities in rural landscapes, but patterns have shifted. Livestock are the most traditional, and probably the most capable seed dispersal vector in the landscape, but other dispersal methods may also be effective. Motor vehicles disperse seeds with similar traits to those dispersed by livestock, while 39% of valuable grasslands in southern Sweden are connected by the road network. Humans are found to disperse around one-third of available grassland species, including several protected and red-listed species, indicating that humans may have been valuable seed dispersers in the past when rural populations were larger. Past activities can also affect seed mobility in time through the seed bank, as seeds of grassland plant species are shown to remain in the soil even after the grassland had been abandoned. Today however, low seed rain in intensively grazed semi-natural grasslands indicates that seed production may be a limiting factor in allowing seeds to be dispersed in space through the landscape.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University , 2013. , 38 p.
Dissertations from the Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, ISSN 1653-7211 ; 37
Biodiversity, Conservation, Functional connectivity, Historical ecology, Human-mediated dispersal, Invasive species, Landscape Ecology, Long-distance dispersal, Restoration, Seed bank, Seed dispersal, Seed rain, Structural connectivity
Physical Geography Ecology
Research subject Physical Geography
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-89105ISBN: 978-91-7447-692-7OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-89105DiVA: diva2:616412
2013-06-05, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Pakeman, Robin, Professor
Cousins, Sara, Professor
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Accepted. Paper 4: In press. Paper 5: Manuscript.2013-05-142013-04-112013-05-03Bibliographically approved
List of papers