Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Herbivory and pollen limitation at the upper elevational range limit of two forest understory plants of eastern North America

Citation

Rivest, Sébastien; Vellend, Mark (2018), Data from: Herbivory and pollen limitation at the upper elevational range limit of two forest understory plants of eastern North America, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m233m

Abstract

Studies of species’ range limits focus most often on abiotic factors, although the strength of biotic interactions might also vary along environmental gradients and have strong demographic effects. For example, pollinator abundance might decrease at range limits due to harsh environmental conditions, and reduced plant density can reduce attractiveness to pollinators and increase or decrease herbivory. We tested for variation in the strength of pollen limitation and herbivory by ungulates along a gradient leading to the upper elevational range limits of Trillium erectum (Melanthiaceae) and Erythronium americanum (Liliaceae) in Mont-Mégantic National Park, Québec, Canada. In T. erectum, pollen limitation was higher at the range limit, but seed set decreased only slightly with elevation and only in one of two years. In contrast, herbivory of T. erectum increased from <10% at low elevations to >60% at the upper elevational range limit. In E. americanum, we found no evidence of pollen limitation despite a significant decrease in seed set with elevation, and herbivory was low across the entire gradient. Overall, our results demonstrate the potential for relatively strong negative interactions (herbivory) and weak positive interactions (pollination) at plant range edges, although this was clearly species-specific. To the extent that these interactions have important demographic consequences – highly likely for herbivory on Trillium, based on previous studies – such interactions might play a role in determining plant species’ range limits along putatively climatic gradients.

Usage Notes

Location

Mont-Mégantic National Park