Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Pyrophilic plants respond to post-fire soil conditions in a frequently burned longleaf pine savanna

Citation

Hopkins, Jacob (2022), Data from: Pyrophilic plants respond to post-fire soil conditions in a frequently burned longleaf pine savanna, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m63xsj42h

Abstract

Fire-plant feedbacks engineer recurrent fires in pyrophilic ecosystems like savannas. The mechanisms sustaining these feedbacks may be related to plant adaptations that trigger rapid responses to fire’s effects on soil. Plants adapted for high fire frequencies should quickly regrow, flower, and produce seeds that mature rapidly and disperse post-fire. We hypothesized that offspring of such plants would germinate and grow rapidly, responding to fire-generated changes in soil nutrients and biota. We conducted an experiment using longleaf pine savanna plants that were paired based on differences in reproduction and survival under annual (“more” pyrophilic) vs. less frequent (“less” pyrophilic) fire regimes. Seeds were planted in different soil inoculations from experimental fires of varying severity. The “more” pyrophilic species displayed high germination rates followed by species specific, rapid growth responses to soil location and fire severity effects on soils. In contrast, the “less” pyrophilic species had lower germination rates that were not responsive to soil treatments. This suggests that rapid germination and growth constitute adaptations to frequent fires, and that plants respond differently to fire severity effects on soil abiotic factors and microbes. Further, variable plant responses to post-fire soils may influence plant community diversity and fire-fuel feedbacks in pyrophilic ecosystems.

Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1557000

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1556837

National Science Foundation, Award: 1540502