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Harvard Forest Data Archive


Seed Dispersal and Seedling Establishment of Sarracenia Purpurea at Hawley Bog, MA 1998-1999

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  • Lead: Aaron Ellison
  • Investigators: Jerelyn Parker
  • Contact: Information Manager
  • Start date: 1998
  • End date: 2001
  • Status: completed
  • Location: Hawley Bog (Hawley MA)
  • Latitude: +42.58
  • Longitude: -72.89
  • Elevation: 543 meter
  • Taxa: Sarracenia purpurea (northern pitcher plant)
  • Release date: 2019
  • Revisions:
  • EML file: knb-lter-hfr.331.2
  • DOI: digital object identifier
  • EDI: data package
  • DataONE: data package
  • Related links:
  • Study type: short-term measurements
  • Research topic: physiological ecology, population dynamics and species interactions
  • LTER core area: populations
  • Keywords: bogs, carnivorous plants, germination, seed dispersal, seedling establishment
  • Abstract:

    Plant ecologists continue to grapple with Reid’s paradox, the observation that dispersal distances of most herbs and trees are too limited to account for their recolonization of northern latitudes following glacial recession. As global climate changes and natural habitats become increasingly fragmented, understanding patterns of seed dispersal and the potential for long-distance colonization takes on new importance. We studied the dispersal and establishment of the northern pitcher plant Sarracenia purpurea, which grows commonly in isolated bogs throughout Canada and eastern North America. Median dispersal distance of S. purpurea is only 5 cm, which is insufficient to explain its occurrence throughout formerly glaciated regions of North America. Establishment probability of seeds in the field is approximately 5%, and juveniles are normally found clustered around adult plants. The large-scale population genetic structure of this species can be accounted for by rare long-distance dispersal events, but its predictable occurrence in isolated habitats requires additional explanation. Reid’s paradox remains an open question, and predicting long-range colonization into fragmented habitats by species with limited dispersal ability is a novel challenge.

  • Methods:

    Estimating dispersal distance

    Seed dispersal distances were estimated using seed traps arrayed in a regular pattern around five isolated (no other flowering plants within a 2.5 m radius) focal plants each with a single maturing capsule. In early October 1998, prior to dehiscence and dispersal, we arrayed 20 10 × 10-cm plastic plates coated with Tanglefoot (Forestry Suppliers, Jackson, Mississippi, USA) in four concentric circles, 5, 25, 45, and 65 cm, from each target plant. Plates were aligned along 5 equiangular rays originating at the plant. From 16 October through 3 December we counted the total number of seeds on each plate weekly. Data: hf331-01-sarracenia-dispersal.csv

    Spatial distribution of adults, juveniles, and seedlings

    In early June 1999, we mapped all S. purpurea individuals in two 5 × 5 m plots at Hawley Bog. Each plant was located (±1 cm) using a Sonin electronic rangefinder (Forestry Suppliers) and the rosette diameter measured. Plants ≤10 cm in diameter were considered juveniles, and those greater than 10 cm were considered adults, as we have never seen a plant less than 10 cm flower. Data: hf331-02-sarracenia-spatialmap.csv

  • Use:

    This dataset is released to the public under Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (No Rights Reserved). Please keep the dataset creators informed of any plans to use the dataset. Consultation with the original investigators is strongly encouraged. Publications and data products that make use of the dataset should include proper acknowledgement.

  • Citation:

    Ellison A. 2019. Seed Dispersal and Seedling Establishment of Sarracenia Purpurea at Hawley Bog, MA 1998-1999. Harvard Forest Data Archive: HF331 (v.2). Environmental Data Initiative:

Detailed Metadata

hf331-01: sarracenia dispersal

  1. plant: plant number (1-5)
  2. distance: distance sticky plate placed from the plant (unit: centimeter / missing value: NA)
  3. ray: which ray (originating at the plant) the plate was on
  4. nseeds: total number of seeds accumulated on the plate (unit: number / missing value: NA)

hf331-02: sarracenia spatial map

  1. xcoord: x-coordinate in meters (relative to arbitrary, but fixed mapping point) (unit: meter / missing value: NA)
  2. ycoord: y-coordinate in meters (relative to arbitrary, but fixed mapping point) (unit: meter / missing value: NA)
  3. relelev: elevation relative to surface of the bog mat and observer eye-level (unit: centimeter / missing value: NA)
  4. repro: plant reproductive status
    • BUDAB: aborted bud
    • FL: flower
    • NONE: no reproduction
  5. nleaves: total number of pitchers present (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  6. newleaves: number of leaves produced in the year up to the point at which plants were mapped (early June 1999) (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  7. rosette: maximum diameter of the plant’s rosette (unit: centimeter / missing value: NA)
  8. leaflen: length of the longest leaf (pitcher) of the plant measured from its base to the top of the hood (unit: centimeter / missing value: NA)
  9. leafdiam: largest diameter of the elliptical pitcher mouth (unit: centimeter / missing value: NA)