Colonization of artificially created areas along a successional gradient (2006-2010)

Rotmoos Valley (Obergurgl, Ötztal, Tyrol, Austria)Gaps are entry points for new species and thus essential for community change and maintenance of species diversity. We focus on the colonization of experimentally created, unvegetated gaps along a primary succession gradient from pioneer to early, late and old successional stages in the Rotmoos Valley (Obergurgl, Ötztal, Tyrol, Austria). Hollows of 10 cm diameter were artificially created and filled with sterilized soil from the site. Colonization of these gaps can be regarded as local micro-succession. We hypothesized that old successional stages are colonized by clonal in-growth of the surrounding species; young successional stages were assumed to be colonized by seedlings. There, the species diversity should increase due to new invasions.

Research Questions

  • Which life form prevails among the colonizers?
  • What are the amounts of seedling numbers in the gaps compared to the surroundings?
  • Did colonization mode (clonal in-growth vs. seedling recruitment) change along the successional gradient?
  • Did diversity differ between gaps and surroundings?

Funding
Tiroler Wissenschaftsfonds (2006-2007)[Link]

Cooperation
Eckart Winkler, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ, Leipzig, Germany  

Personnel involved
Kay Cichini
Silvia Marcante
Erich Schwienbacher
Brigitta Erschbamer

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