Seed bank and big sagebrush plant community composition in a range margin for big sagebrush

Ecosphere
By: , and 

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Abstract

The potential influence of seed bank composition on range shifts of species due to climate change is unclear. Seed banks can provide a means of both species persistence in an area and local range expansion in the case of increasing habitat suitability, as may occur under future climate change. However, a mismatch between the seed bank and the established plant community may represent an obstacle to persistence and expansion. In big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) plant communities in Montana, USA, we compared the seed bank to the established plant community. There was less than a 20% similarity in the relative abundance of species between the established plant community and the seed bank. This difference was primarily driven by an overrepresentation of native annual forbs and an underrepresentation of big sagebrush in the seed bank compared to the established plant community. Even though we expect an increase in habitat suitability for big sagebrush under future climate conditions at our sites, the current mismatch between the plant community and the seed bank could impede big sagebrush range expansion into increasingly suitable habitat in the future.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Seed bank and big sagebrush plant community composition in a range margin for big sagebrush
Series title Ecosphere
DOI 10.1002/ecs2.1453
Volume 7
Issue 10
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description e01453; 11 p.
First page 1
Last page 11