The biology and ecology of Potentilla recta in the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/c821gn56g

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  • Two experiments were conducted on the invasive plant species Potentilla recta in northeastern Oregon to investigate both biological and ecological characteristics of the species. Growth analysis was conducted on the plant at three sites over a period of two years (2002 and 2003). Relative growth rate (RGR) was calculated for Potentilla recta, as were net assimilation rate (NAR), leaf area ratio (LAR), specific leaf area (SLA), and leaf weight fraction (LWF). In a second experiment, hand tool modifications were imposed on Potentilla recta inhabited areas to obtain basic population demography under differing environmental conditions. Morphological characteristics including width, leaf number, height, and stem number were recorded, as well as germination, mortality, and plant growth phase. Potentilla recta was not significantly different from native plants in relative growth rate (maximum mean value of 1.011 g g⁻¹ week) or its components. This suggests that there are other mechanisms contributing to Potentilla recta's success than rate of growth. The manipulations of site characteristics indicated that replacement of soil had the greatest initial impact on Potentilla recta germination (1.8/ plants 0.25 m²) while no manipulation resulted in the highest germination (29.9/ seedlings 0.25 m²) of Potentilla recta. Mortality was highest (100%) when plots were clipped, overseeded, and bare. Mortality was lowest (95%) in bare soil with a Potentilla recta plant present. The seed bank was found to have significant impact on seedling germination in comparison to seed rain. Survival of Potentilla recta was low overall, which may indicate other factors such as climate and vegetative reproduction are more important than sexual reproduction in patch expansion and stability. This study points to the importance of population characteristics over individual fitness in the success of Potentilla recta in the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon.
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