Analyses of Spatial Patterns and Population Processes of Clonal Plants

Yuko Harada, Yoh Iwasa

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28 Citations (Scopus)


The nonrandom spatial structure of terrestrial plants is formed by ecological interactions and reproduction with a limited dispersal range, and in turn this may strongly affect population dynamics and population genetics. The traditional method of modelling in population ecology is either to neglect spatial pattern (e.g. in transition matrix models) or to do straightforward computer simulation. We review here three analytical methods to deal with plant populations in a lattice-structured habitat, which propagate both by seeds that scatter over the whole habitat and by vegetative reproduction (producing runners, rhizomes, etc.) to neighboring vacant sites. [1] Dynamics of global and local densities: Dynamical equations of population density considering nearest-neighbor correlation (spatial clumping) are developed as the joint dynamics of global average density and local density (comparable to mean crowding) based on pair approximation. If there is a linear trade-off between seed production and vegetative reproduction, the equilibrium abundance of the population may be maximized by engaging both means of reproduction. This result is accurately predicted by the pair approximation method, but not by mean-field approximation (neglect of spatial structure). [2] Cluster size distributions: Using global and local densities obtained by pair approximation, we predicted cluster size distribution, i.e. the number of clusters of occupied sites of various sizes. [3] Clonal identity probability decreasing with distance: Multi-locus measurement of allozymes or other neutral molecular markers tells us whether or not a given pair of individuals belong to the same clone. From the pattern of clonal identity probability decreasing with the distance between ramets, we can estimate the relative importance of two modes of reproduction: vegetative propagation and sexual seed production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-164
Number of pages12
JournalResearches on Population Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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