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Publication Type J
Authors Pennings, SC; Callaway, RM
Author Full Name Pennings, SC; Callaway, RM
Title Impact of a parasitic plant on the structure and dynamics of salt marsh vegetation
Source ECOLOGY
Language English
Document Type Article
Author Keywords community dynamics; competition; Cuscuta; disturbance; parasitic plant; patch dynamics; Salicornia; salt marsh; zonation
Keywords Plus SALICORNIA-VIRGINICA L; SPARTINA-FOLIOSA TRIN; SAN-FRANCISCO BAY; INTERTIDAL COMMUNITY STRUCTURE; RHINANTHUS-MINOR; FOOD PREFERENCE; ECOLOGY; CALIFORNIA; ECOTONE; HETEROGENEITY
Abstract We investigated the effect of a native parasitic plant, Cuscuta salina, on the structure and dynamics of the plant community in a California salt marsh. Cuscuta was common in the middle marsh zones. The abundance of Cuscuta was positively correlated with the abundance of Limonium californicum at two sampling scales (0.25- and approximate to 40-m(2) quadrats). Sampling at the scale of individual plants indicated that the dominant plant in the marsh, Salicornia virginica, was preferred by Cuscuta as a host over Arthrocnemum subterminale, Limonium californicum, and Frankenia salina. This result was confirmed with host-choice experiments in the field. Based on spatial correlations and host-choice experiments, we hypothesized that Cuscuta indirectly facilitated Limonium and Frankenia, increasing plant diversity and initiating vegetation cycles. This hypothesis was supported by sampling patches with different histories of Cuscuta infection. Patches with recent heavy Cuscuta infection had reduced Salicornia biomass and increased Limonium and Frankenia biomass relative to controls. This effect was most pronounced at higher elevations and in larger, older patches. The hypothesis was also supported by sampling permanent quadrats repeatedly over time. The probability that Cuscuta would invade a quadrat increased with increasing cover of Salicornia. Quadrats containing Cuscuta increased in Limonium and Frankenia cover between censuses relative to quadrats lacking Cuscuta. Our results indicate that parasitic plants can have strong effects on the structure and dynamics of natural vegetation assemblages. However, these effects are mediated by physical and biological gradients across the landscape.
Author Address UNIV MONTANA,DEPT BIOL,MISSOULA,MT 59812
Reprint Address Pennings, SC (reprint author), UNIV GEORGIA,INST MARINE,SAPELO ISL,GA 31327, USA.
ResearcherID Number Pennings, Steven/A-8326-2013
ORCID Number Pennings, Steven/0000-0003-4757-7125
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Cited Reference Count 46
Times Cited 112
Total Times Cited Count (WoS, BCI, and CSCD) 121
Publisher ECOLOGICAL SOC AMER
Publisher City WASHINGTON
Publisher Address 2010 MASSACHUSETTS AVE, NW, STE 400, WASHINGTON, DC 20036
ISSN 0012-9658
29-Character Source Abbreviation ECOLOGY
ISO Source Abbreviation Ecology
Publication Date JUL
Year Published 1996
Volume 77
Issue 5
Beginning Page 1410
Ending Page 1419
Digital Object Identifier (DOI) 10.2307/2265538
Page Count 10
Web of Science Category Ecology
Subject Category Environmental Sciences & Ecology
Document Delivery Number UX396
Unique Article Identifier WOS:A1996UX39600011
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