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Title: Plant community dynamics in a wet heathland
Author: Keatinge, T. H.
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1972
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Three areas of undisturbed wet heathland were studied to examine the interrelationships of the plants The history of the vegetation was studied by the use of historical records, aerial photographs, and by evidence in the peat. It was seen that there had been interference by man at one of the sites and also that Calluna vulgaris was a relative newcomer to two of the sites. The vegetation at the sites consisted almost entirely of perennial species propagating vegetatively, so an examination of the spread, and hence the recent past, of individual plants was undertaken. It was observed that Calluna spread by trailing stems rooting adventitiously in tussocks of Eriophorum vaginatun. These tussocks were also used in a similar manner by other species, which could account for the many dead tussocks found under the canopy layer. An assessment of the present position in the interplay between the individuals in the community was made by pattern and correlation analyses. These showed that both Calluna and E. vaginatum from large patches about three metres in diameter. These are thought to be the result of the vegetative spread of these species. Several of the constituent species were grown in mixtures and in pure stands in the greenhouse to examine their interrelationships under controlled conditions. This experiment showed the poor chances of Calluna regenerating by seed on wet peat in the presence of other species. The results were discussed in the light of other work on the structure and dynamics of plant communities. The possibility of Calluna being a fire-adapted dominant was also considered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available