Artículos científicos

Weak and variable relationships between environmental severity and small-scale co-occurrence in alpine plant communities

S. Dullinger, I. Kleinbauer, H. Pauli, M. Gottfried, R. Brooker, L. Nagy, J.-P. Theurillat, J. I. Holten, O. Abdaladze, J.-L. Benito Alonso, J.-L. Borel, G. Coldea, D. Ghosn, R. Kanka, A. Merzouki, C. Klettner, P. Moiseev, U. Molau, K. Reiter, G. Rossi, A. Stanisci, M. Tomaselli, P. Unterlugauer, P. Vittoz, G. Grabherr

Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología, CSIC. Apdo. 64. E-22700 Jaca (Huesca) -


Artículo publicado en Journal of Ecology 95 (6): 1284–1295 (noviembre 2007).

Ocupa el puesto 12/114 (Ecología) en el ISI Journal Citation Reports® de 2006. Factor de impacto: 4.239


SUMMARY: 1. The stress gradient hypothesis suggests a shift from predominant competition to facilitation along gradients of increasing environmental severity. This shift is proposed to cause parallel changes from prevailing spatial segregation to aggregation among the species within a community.

2. We used 904 1-m2 plots, each subdivided into 100 10×10 cm, or 25 20×20 cm cells, respectively, from 67 European mountain summits grouped into 18 regional altitudinal transects, to test this hypothesized correlation between fine-scale spatial patterns and environmental severity.

3. The data were analysed by first calculating standardized differences between observed and simulated random co-occurrence patterns for each plot. These standardized effect sizes were correlated to indicators of environmental severity by means of linear mixed models. In a factorial design, separate analyses were made for four different indicators of environmental severity (the mean temperature of the coldest month, the temperature sum of the growing season, the altitude above tree line, and the percentage cover of vascular plants in the whole plot), four different species groups (all species, graminoids, herbs, and all growth forms considered as pseudospecies) and at the 10×10 cm and 20×20 cm grain sizes.

 KEY WORDS: alpine plant community, competition, co-occurrence, environmental severity, facilitation, growth forms, null model, spatial arrangement, scale, stress-gradient hypothesis.

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Actualizada el viernes, 28 diciembre 2007