University of Oulu

Population biology of the Primula sibirica group species inhabiting frequently disturbed seashore meadows: implications for management

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Author: Rautiainen, Pirjo1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2006
Publish Date: 2006-03-29
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Science, University of Oulu, for public discussion in Kuusamonsali (Auditorium YB210), Linnanmaa, on April 8th, 2006, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Docent Kari Lehtilä
Professor Martin Zobel


Many plant species inhabiting the seashore meadows of the Bothnian Bay, especially early successional ones, have become threatened. Isostatic land uplift creates virgin land for early successional species to colonise. However, at the same time it gradually elevates the habitat and eventually makes the habitat unsuitable for them. Disturbances of the waterfront may slow down succession and create new empty sites. In order to persist on the shores, pioneer species have to be able to colonise new sites by seeds, vegetative propagules or growth.

In this thesis I studied the status of an endangered early successional grass species, A. fulva var. pendulina, at the Liminka Bay. According to a matrix population model based on eight years of observations (1992–1999), the population seemed not to be in immediate danger of extinction. However, simulations based on four-year field observations (2000–2003) indicated that if the current trend continues, the species will decrease considerably in area in the next 30 years.

In the field studies no seedlings or viable seeds of A. fulva were found. In spite of this, high genotypic diversity was found in the A. fulva population, suggesting that sexual reproduction has taken place at some time during the history of the population. Analysis of the population structure revealed a low level of genotypic differentiation between subpopulations and significant sub-structuring within subpopulations. The overall pattern of genetic variation suggests that the population has characters of both stepping-stone and metapopulation models.

The results of the study on the ability of a seashore plant Potentilla anserina ssp. egedii to change its allocation of resources to sexual and vegetative reproduction according to competitive stress implied that the species can modify the allocation of resources to different life-history traits. For a plant living in disturbance-prone environment, it may be beneficial to be able to rapidly track the competition-free space formed by disturbances by changing its reproductive pattern.

Management studies on three endangered seashore plant species showed that deterioration of suitable habitats of A. fulva and Primula nutans var. jokelae could be slowed down by management, and the vegetative and/or sexual reproduction of these species was enhanced. However, in the case of Puccinellia phryganodes, no positive response to management was observed.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. A, Scientiae rerum naturalium
ISSN-E: 1796-220X
ISBN: 951-42-8025-3
ISBN Print: 951-42-8024-5
Issue: 453
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2006. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.