Abstract. Morphological (size and shape) and functional (growth, reproduction and phenology) attributes are used to characterize 42 annual species of Mediterranean grasslands according to their strategy. Principal component analysis of the matrix of 42 species x 9 attributes shows that the main trend of variation is related to plant size. Larger species have larger seeds, lower relative growth rates and lower reproductive output. The second and third trends of variation are related to plant shape. Ordination of species shows differences in shape between taxa and growth forms (grasses, legumes, forbs). The relative abundance of species with different attributes vary with the level of stress (water and nutrient availability) and disturbance (grazing and ploughing). Size is related to stress, with larger plants dominating in productive habitats and smaller ones in the most unproductive. Disturbance is related to shape and phenology, since grazing favours species with low canopies and ploughing favours species with shorter life cycles, that are usually small in size. Relations between plant attributes and habitat characteristics are examined within the more general framework of plant strategy theory.
Journal of Vegetation Science – Wiley
Published: Jun 1, 1993
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