Data from: Pre-dispersal seed predation and pollen limitation constrain population growth across the geographic distribution of Astragalus utahensis
Baer, Kathryn C.; Maron, John L. (2018), Data from: Pre-dispersal seed predation and pollen limitation constrain population growth across the geographic distribution of Astragalus utahensis, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.g62pv
1. A central focus of ecology is to understand the conditions under which biotic interactions affect species’ abundance and distribution. Classic and recent studies have shown that biotic interactions can strongly impact local or regional patterns of species abundance, but two fundamental questions remain largely unaddressed for non-competitive biotic interactions. First, do the effects of these interactions on population performance change predictably with environmental context? Second, to what extent do population-scale effects contribute to limiting species’ geographic distributions?
2. To address these questions, we experimentally assessed the extent to which pollen limitation and insect seed predators affected the fecundity and projected population growth rate (λ) of the native forb Astragalus utahensis. We studied populations at the center and northern edge of the latitudinal range of A. utahensis that occur across a gradient in abiotic harshness characterized primarily by declining mean annual precipitation.
3. Supplementing pollen and suppressing pre-dispersal seed predators increased seed production similarly within A. utahensis populations at the center and northern edge of the range. Integral projection population models revealed that relaxing these checks on seed production tended to increase λ in most populations, regardless of their location within the range.
4. Synthesis. Our results suggest that pollen limitation and insect herbivores limit population growth in A. utahensis similarly across the center-to-north portion of its latitudinal distribution. However, because A. utahensis population growth barely reaches the level of replacement at the northern range edge, the reduction in λ resulting from these interactions may contribute to limiting expansion at the northern edge of A. utahensis’ latitudinal range.
National Science Foundation, Award: DGE-1313190; DEB-0614406; DEB-1553518