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Cushion plant effects on seed 
germination in an alpine 
environment 
Amanda Liczner MSc. candidate
Presentation topics 
Introduction 
 What is facilitation 
 Purpose, hypothesis 
Methods 
 Field collection 
 Germinati...
Introduction: facilitation is positive 
interactions between species 
A B 
A B 
Bruno et al. 2003, Brooker et al. 2008
Introduction: nurse effects on 
beneficiary species 
Temperature 
Soil moisture 
Soil nutrients 
Wind 
UV radiation 
Cavie...
Purpose: to determine the influence 
of cushions on germination
Question: do seeds from open plants 
have greater germination in cushions?
Hypothesis: 
seeds from species in the open will benefit from 
decreased abiotic stress and thus will have greater 
germin...
Methods: surveyed cushion-open 
paired sites 
Plant density of beneficiaries in cushion and open 
Measured average plant h...
Methods: seeds were collected for 
germination trials 
Seeds 
(10/species) 
cushion chambers 
open chambers
Methods: germination trials were 
conducted for 14d
Methods: germination trials were 
conducted for 14d
Results: plant density is greater in the 
open 
*** 
* 
*
Results: plant height is greater in the 
open 
*** 
*** 
*
Results: there is no difference in 
germination between microsites
Results: no difference between 
microsites for days to 50% germination
Implications: competition may prevent 
establishment on cushions 
Although density is higher in the open there is no 
diff...
Implications: competition may prevent 
establishment on cushions 
Environmental stress 
Michalet et al. 2006; Brooker et a...
Conclusions 
Seeds from plants found primarily in the open 
germinate equally well in both microsites 
These plants may be...
Thank you! 
Ron Long 
Christopher Lortie 
Rick Bello
R2= 0.224
R2= 0.021
Purpose: some previous studies had 
conflicting results 
shrub open
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cushion plant effects on seed germination of alpine plants

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This presentation is part of an Northern Studies Training Program symposium. The purpose of this study was to determine if cushion plants can influence the seed germination of species that are commonly not found on cushion plants. It is well known that positive plant-plant interactions help plant establishment on cushions but the potential for these positive interactions to influence seed germination is an understudied areas

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cushion plant effects on seed germination of alpine plants

  1. 1. Cushion plant effects on seed germination in an alpine environment Amanda Liczner MSc. candidate
  2. 2. Presentation topics Introduction  What is facilitation  Purpose, hypothesis Methods  Field collection  Germination trials Results Implications
  3. 3. Introduction: facilitation is positive interactions between species A B A B Bruno et al. 2003, Brooker et al. 2008
  4. 4. Introduction: nurse effects on beneficiary species Temperature Soil moisture Soil nutrients Wind UV radiation Cavieres et al. 2008; le Roux and McGeoch 2010; Anthelme et al 2012; Molenda et al 2012; Schoeb et al 2012
  5. 5. Purpose: to determine the influence of cushions on germination
  6. 6. Question: do seeds from open plants have greater germination in cushions?
  7. 7. Hypothesis: seeds from species in the open will benefit from decreased abiotic stress and thus will have greater germination within the cushion Predictions: 1. Plant height will be greater in the cushion 2. Seed germination will be greater in the cushion 3. Seeds will germinate faster in the open
  8. 8. Methods: surveyed cushion-open paired sites Plant density of beneficiaries in cushion and open Measured average plant height of beneficiaries
  9. 9. Methods: seeds were collected for germination trials Seeds (10/species) cushion chambers open chambers
  10. 10. Methods: germination trials were conducted for 14d
  11. 11. Methods: germination trials were conducted for 14d
  12. 12. Results: plant density is greater in the open *** * *
  13. 13. Results: plant height is greater in the open *** *** *
  14. 14. Results: there is no difference in germination between microsites
  15. 15. Results: no difference between microsites for days to 50% germination
  16. 16. Implications: competition may prevent establishment on cushions Although density is higher in the open there is no difference in germination between microsites
  17. 17. Implications: competition may prevent establishment on cushions Environmental stress Michalet et al. 2006; Brooker et al. 2008; He et al 2013; McIntire et al. 2013 Strength of facilitation
  18. 18. Conclusions Seeds from plants found primarily in the open germinate equally well in both microsites These plants may be competitively excluded at another life stage
  19. 19. Thank you! Ron Long Christopher Lortie Rick Bello
  20. 20. R2= 0.224
  21. 21. R2= 0.021
  22. 22. Purpose: some previous studies had conflicting results shrub open

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