Local perennial plants affect occurrence and traits of annual grasses along an environmental gradient

Activity: Talk and presentationAcademic presentationAcademic


Positive plant interactions are well known to influence plant community dynamics, especially in stressful habitats. Successful restoration in stressful habitats requires a more thorough understanding of the mechanisms driving plant-plant interactions in patchy landscapes. What is less well-known, is if neighbouring perennial plants can drive differences in the spatial association and life-history traits of two closely related annual grasses along an aridity gradient in southern Spain. We found that as the degree of aridity increased, both Brachypodium species were less associated with neighbouring perennial plants. We also found that plants collected outside perennial plants were taller, had higher seed numbers and further, in controlled conditions from our least arid site, flowered more rapidly than plants found underneath perennial plants. We conclude that in patchy landscapes dominated by perennial plants, both annual grasses respond, in partly unexpected ways, to both the macroclimate (aridity gradient) and the microclimate as provided by neighbouring perennial plants. Future research should, therefore, incorporate such neighbourhood effects on annual plants, as these may have consequences for restoration success to ongoing rapid environmental changes.
Event titleNetherlands Annual Ecology Meeting 2022
Event typeConference
Conference number15
Organiser Netherlands Ecological Research Network (NERN)
LocationLunteren, NetherlandsShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational