Quantifying the relative importance of how local (environmental or niche‐based) and regional (dispersal‐related or spatial) processes regulate the assembly of communities has become one of the main research avenues of community ecology. It has been shown that the degree of isolation of local habitats in the landscape may substantially influence the relative role of environmental filtering and dispersal‐related processes in metacommunities. Dendritic stream networks are unique habitats in the landscape, where more isolated upstream sites have been predicted to be primarily structured by environmental variables, while more central mainstem rivers by both environmental and spatial variables (hereafter the network position hypothesis, NPH). However, the NPH has almost exclusively been tested for stream macroinvertebrates, and therefore its predictions warrant confirmation from multiple taxa. We examined the validity of the NPH for benthic diatoms, macrophytes, macroinvertebrates and fish in the Pannon Ecoregion, Hungary. Following the NPH we predicted a clear dominance of environmental over spatial variables in headwaters, and a larger effect of spatial variables in rivers compared to headwaters. We tested these predictions using variance partitioning analyses separately for the different taxa in headwater and in riverine habitats. We found large differences in the explained community variance when the impact of environmental (physical and chemical) and spatial (overland and watercourse distance) variables for various taxa was studied. In general, total explained variance was lower for the more passively dispersing plant taxa than for animal taxa with more active dispersal in both streams and rivers. However, similar to other studies, the total explained variance was low for both headwater streams and rivers. Community structure of diatoms could be best explained by both environmental and spatial variables in streams, whereas their community structure could not be explained by either variable group in rivers. The significance of environmental and spatial variables depended on the distance measure (overland versus watercourse) in the case of macrophytes. Community structure of macroinvertebrates could be explained by environmental variables in streams and by both environmental and spatial variables in rivers. Moreover, variation was explained by different predictors when macroinvertebrate taxa were divided into flying and non‐flying groups, suggesting the importance of dispersal mode in explaining community variation. Finally, community structure of fishes could be explained by both environmental and spatial variables in streams and only by environmental variables in rivers. In conclusion, we found no clear evidence of the NPH in our multi‐taxa comparison. For example, while patterns in macroinvertebrate communities seem to support the NPH, those in fish communities run counter with the predictions of the NPH. This study thus shows that different taxa may behave differently to isolation effects in stream ne...
Alterations in traditional land use practices have led to severe declines in the area of semi-natural grasslands, thereby seriously threatening plant and animal species dependent on these habitats. Small anthropogenic managed habitats, like roadsides can act as refuges and might play an important role in conserving these species. Colonization of roadside verges by endangered lizard orchids (Himantoglossum spp.) has long been known, but few studies have systematically explored the suitability of roadside habitats for these orchids and the impact of roads on them. In this paper we present results of targeted surveys of three lizard orchid taxa on roadsides from eight European countries. During these surveys we searched for lizard orchids inhabiting roadside verges and recorded their distance from road, aspects of the roadside environment, as well as vegetative and reproductive characteristics of individual plants. We found large numbers of lizard orchids on roadside verges. Distance from roads was not uniformly distributed: orchids occurred more closely to roads than expected by chance. This suggests that regular management of roadsides (e.g. mowing) might enhance colonization and survival of lizard orchids. On the other hand, we also found that close proximity to roads negatively affects reproductive success, suggesting that the immediate vicinity of roads might act as an ecological trap (i.e. favorable in terms of colonization and survival but unfavorable in terms of reproduction). Nonetheless, the fact that significant and viable populations are maintained at roadsides suggests that traditionally managed roadside verges may allow long-term persistence of lizard orchid populations and may serve as refuges in a landscape context.
Graveyards in Turkey are widely known among orchidologists as places where several orchid (Orchidaceae) taxa can be found, including some very rare and localized ones. Graveyards are less strongly affected by landscape-altering human activities than other habitats because of their special cultural roles and religious privileges. In this study we performed a comprehensive survey of Turkish graveyards as orchid habitats. In total, 300 graveyards were studied in 30 provinces of Turkey in 2014. Altogether, we found 86 orchid taxa (almost half of the known Turkish orchid flora) in 208 graveyards. Among the studied provinces, Muğla and Antalya, in the southwest, emerged as peaks of taxon richness. This finding is in accordance with the overall biogeographic pattern of orchid diversity in Turkey. Our survey also contributes new floristic data to the orchid flora of Turkey. Additionally we documented salep collection in ten graveyards from six provinces involving nine taxa. We conclude that the occurrence of orchids in Turkish graveyards is not a rare phenomenon, and thus graveyards can be important refuges for orchids in the changing economic and agricultural circumstances of Turkey.
Harvest of orchid tubers for salep production is widespread in southwestern Asia and the Balkans and constitutes a major conservation risk for wild orchid populations. Synanthropic habitats, such as graveyards, are important refuges for orchids and other organisms and could offer protection from salep harvesting because of their special cultural role. However, little is known about the occurrence and factors influencing harvesting of salep in graveyards. During field surveys of 474 graveyards throughout Turkey, we observed 333 graveyards with orchids, 311 graveyards with tuberous orchids, and salep harvest in 14 graveyards. Altogether, 530 individuals of 17 orchid species were collected, representing 9% of the individuals recorded. Harvesting intensity was relatively low, and populations were usually not wholly destroyed. However, some species were clearly more affected than others. Salep harvesting risk of orchid species was significantly associated with flowering time, with early‐flowering species being more affected. A marginally significant positive relationship between harvesting risk and species‐specific tuber size was also detected. Our data suggest that graveyards might offer some protection against salep harvesting in Turkey, but they also show that some orchid taxa are much more affected than others. Overall, our observations add more weight to the conservation value of these special habitats.
Several important habitats have become threatened in the last few centuries in the Mediterranean Basin due to major changes adopted in land‐use practices. The consequent loss of natural and seminatural orchid habitats leads to the appreciation of small anthropogenic habitats, such as cemeteries and roadside verges. Colonization of cemeteries and roadside verges by orchids has long been known, but no study to date compared the suitability of these two anthropogenic habitats for orchids. Therefore, in this paper our aim was to survey cemeteries and roadside verges and to compare these two habitats regarding their role in conserving Mediterranean terrestrial orchids. We conducted field surveys in three Mediterranean islands, Cyprus, Crete, and Lesbos, where both cemeteries and roadside verges were sampled on a geographically representative scale. We found a total of almost 7,000 orchid individuals, belonging to 77 species in the two anthropogenic habitat types. Roadside verges hosted significantly more individuals than cemeteries in Crete and Lesbos, and significantly more species across all three islands. Our results suggest that although cemeteries have a great potential conservation value in other parts of the world, intensive maintenance practices that characterized cemeteries in these three islands renders them unable to sustain valuable plant communities. On the other hand, roadside verges play a prominent role in the conservation of Mediterranean orchids in Cyprus and Greece. The pioneer status of roadside verges facilitates their fast colonization, while roads serve as ecological corridors in fragmented landscapes.
For understanding local and regional seed dispersal and plant establishment processes and for considering the ecotypes and other forms of specific variability, hard data of locally or regionally measured traits are necessary. We provided newly measured seed weight data of 193 taxa, out of which 24 taxa had not been represented in the SID, LEDA or BiolFlor databases. Our new measurements and formerly published data of locally collected seed weight records together covers over 70% of the Pannonian flora. However, there is still a considerable lack in seed weight data of taxonomically problematic genera, even though they are represented in the Pannonian flora with a relatively high number of species and/ or subspecies (e.g. Sorbus, Rosa, Rubus, Crataegus and Hieracium). Our regional database contains very sporadic data on aquatic plants (including also numerous invasive species reported from Hungary and neighbouring countries) and some rare weeds distributed in the southwestern part of the country. These facts indicate the necessity of further seed collection and measurements.Key words: dry storage, hard trait, herbarium, plant trait, restoration, seed database, seed mass INTRODUCTIONOne of the most easily measurable physical trait of a plant is the weight of its seeds. Seed weight (or referred to also as seed mass) affects the regeneration strategy and the dispersal of plant species both in space (spatial dispersal) and time (development of a seed bank). Seed weight is also strongly related Acta Bot. Hung. 58, 2016 188 TÖRÖK, P., TÓTH, E., TÓTH, K., VALKÓ, O., DEÁK, B., KELBERT, B., BÁLINT, P. et al. to seed predation events (larger seeds are more likely predated), germination processes, seedling establishment and survival (Eriksson 2000). Thus, in the last few decades seed traits (incl. seed weight) became frequently used for explaining crucial dynamical processes in plant communities (Leishman et al. 2001, Moles et al. 2007) and for analysing life trait scenarios (Beaulieu et al. 2007, Moles and Westoby 2003). There is also an increasing trend to collect hard and soft traits into searchable and electronically available databases. This also holds for seed traits, which can be found for the European flora in comprehensive databases, such as BiolFlor (Klotz et al. 2002), BIOPOP (Kleyer 1995), LEDA (Kleyer et al. 2008), TRY (Kattge et al. 2011a, b) the Seed information database SID 7.1 (Kew Botanical Garden, Liu et al. 2008), the Dispersal and diaspore database (Hintze et al. 2013), and the Digital seed atlas of the Netherlands (Cappers et al. 2012). These databases contain data for most of the common European species, especially species with a northwestern or Central European distribution. Species distributed mostly in southern or eastern Europe are generally underrepresented in these databases; thus, providing new, locally collected data on seed weights is a vital task in these regions (see also Csontos et al. 2003, Török et al. 2013. Furthermore, for understanding local and regional seed dispersal and pla...
Trait‐based approaches are widely used in community ecology and invasion biology to unravel underlying mechanisms of vegetation dynamics. Although fundamental trade‐offs between specific traits and invasibility are well described among terrestrial plants, little is known about their role and function in aquatic plant species. In this study, we examine the functional differences of aquatic alien and native plants stating that alien and native species differ in selected leaf traits. Our investigation is based on 60 taxa (21 alien and 39 native) collected from 22 freshwater units of Hungarian and Italian lowlands and highlands. Linear mixed models were used to investigate the effects of nativeness on four fundamental traits (leaf area, leaf dry matter content, specific leaf area, and leaf nitrogen content), while the influence of growth‐form, altitude, and site were employed simultaneously. We found significantly higher values of leaf areas and significantly lower values of specific leaf areas for alien species if growth‐form was included in the model as an additional predictor.We showed that the trait‐based approach of autochthony can apply to aquatic environments similar to terrestrial ones, and leaf traits have relevance in explaining aquatic plant ecology whether traits are combined with growth‐forms as a fixed factor. Our results confirm the importance of traits related to competitive ability in the process of aquatic plant invasions. Alien aquatic plants can be characterized as species producing soft leaves faster. We argue that the functional traits of alien aquatic plants are strongly growth‐form dependent. Using the trait‐based approach, we found reliable characteristics of aquatic plants related to species invasions, which might be used, for example, in conservation management.
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