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    Evolution of hydrological niches in Restionaceae: a project update

    Araya, Yoseph N. and Silvertown, J. and Linder, H.P. and Gowing, D.J. and Midgley, G. and McConway, K.J. (2008) Evolution of hydrological niches in Restionaceae: a project update. In: Mucina, L. and Kalwij, J.M. and Smith, V.R. and Chytry, M. and White, P.S. and Cilliers, S.S. and Pillar, V.D. and Zobel, M. and Sun, I.-F. (eds.) Frontiers of Vegetation Science - An Evolutionary Angle. Cape Town, South Africa: Keith Phillips Images, pp. 15-16. ISBN 9780958476690.

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    Plants are in general exquisitely sensitive to differences in soil moisture availability, particularly when competing with each other. We have previously found that species segregate along soil moisture gradients in English wet meadows (Silvertown et al. 1999) and we now have good evidence from several sites in the Western Cape that the same phenomenon occurs in fynbos communities. Our discovery of plants segregating into hydrological niches, defined by their location along soil moisture gradients, in phylogenetically completely different communities in the northern and southern hemispheres suggests that this form of niche separation is very general indeed. We are now using the Restionaceae family, one of the key components of fynbos vegetation, to test the hypothesis that the radiation of the Restionaceae clade in the Cape involved the occupation of novel niches in hydrological niche space. We have so far collected hydrological data on 39 species of Restionaceae from 6 sites and have a species-level phylogeny of the family (Hardy et al. 2008) which enables us to estimate the rate of evolutionary change in hydrological niche parameters during the radiation of the group.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Additional Information: Abstracts of presentations at the 51st Annual Symposium of the International Association for Vegetation Science, Stellenbosch, South Africa, September 7-12, 2008
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2008 06:48
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:00


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