Stasis and invasion in our understanding of clonal plant ecology: the herbs are ahead.
Peterson, Chris*,1, 1 University of Georgia, Athens, GA
ABSTRACT- This presentation is a synthesis of the preceeding contributions to the symposium "Plant Clonal Growth - Ecological Implications". In this series of presentations, we have seen that the state of knowledge about clonality is unevenly distributed, both across species and growth forms, but also geographically. While much attention has been focused on the ecological implications of clonal growth forms in Europe and Japan, research in North America is relatively less common. Much of the conceptual framework for our thinking about clonal plants has developed in an herb-centered context, with limited consideration of how the generally larger size, longer lifespan, and more durable structures of woody plants might change patterns and processes. The greater ease of manipulating small herbaceous plants, compared to larger woody plants, makes obvious why most recent manipulative studies have employed herbacous species, although work in progress will breach this barrier. Explicit consideration of the herb-woody plant differences will be needed for more comprehensive theories. An important contribution in this direction has come from researchers interested in persistence (sprouting) of woody plants in fire-prone ecosystems. Other important improvements to thinking about clonal plants include a growing consideration of the community level of organization. Finally, in addition to the fire/resprouting focus previously mentioned, recent work has given much more attention to how clonal plants respond to disturbance in general. These developments suggest that a broader and more comprehensive conceptual basis for understanding clonal plant ecology should be attainable in the very near future.
Key words: clonal plants, sprouting, integration
All materials copyright The Ecological Society of America (ESA), and may not be used without written permission.