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Distribution and dispersal of desert mistletoe is scale-dependent, hierarchically nested
 

Summary: Distribution and dispersal of desert mistletoe is scale-dependent,
hierarchically nested
Juliann Eve Aukema
Aukema, J. E. 2004. Distribution and dispersal of desert mistletoe is scale-dependent,
hierarchically nested. / Ecography 27: 137/144.
Spatial patterns are important to many ecological processes, and scale is a critical
component of both patterns and processes. I examined the pattern and scale of the
spatial distribution of infection of host plants by the desert mistletoe, Phoradendron
californicum, in a landscape that spans several square kilometers. I also studied the
relationship between mistletoe infection and seed dispersal. I found elevated seed rain
in areas with a high prevalence of mistletoes and I found that a greater proportion of
trees receive seeds than are infected, suggesting that mistletoes will be aggregated in
space. Using nested analysis of variance and variograms, I found that mistletoe
infections were distributed in hierarchical patches. Mistletoes were aggregated within
trees and mistletoe prevalence was correlated at scales of B/1500 m, and at scales
/4000 m. Patterns at the largest scales were correlated with elevation: sites at higher
elevations showed reduced mistletoe infection compared to those at lower elevations. I
propose that at small scales, mistletoe distributions are primarily the result of
aggregation of seed-dispersing birds, and that the elevational effect could reflect the
recent colonization of higher elevations by the mistletoes' mesquite hosts or the limits

  

Source: Aukema, Juliann E. - National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, University of California at Santa Barbara

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology