Dispersal vs. environmental filters: comparison between soil seed banks and standing vegetation in a side channel of the Loire River (France)

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Corentin GAUDICHET , Séraphine GRELLIER, Sabine GREULICH, Stéphane RODRIGUES

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Soil seed banks may play a major role in restoration projects. In riverine ecosystems, substrate is frequently re-mobilized during floods, and both seed import and export are potentially high. In this context, soil seed banks (SSB) and standing vegetation (SV) are the result of complex and antagonistic processes, which are not well understood. The study aims to characterize (i) composition of SSB and SV, (ii) similarity between both in different contexts of flooding and soil disturbance, and (iii) to identify whether those contexts induce different community structures. The study took place in a disconnecting side channel of the Loire River. Seed bank and vegetation were sampled on three zones (upstream, central, downstream) and at two elevation levels (banks and thalweg). SSB was studied via seedling emergence; SV was surveyed in early spring and summer. Both communities were characterized with regard to density, specific richness and species composition using indicator species analysis, NMDS and PERMANOVAs. Community composition differed significantly across elevation levels in SSB, indicating dispersal filters along the altitudinal gradient. Both elevation levels and zones affected community composition in SV, indicating environmental filters along both altitudinal and longitudinal gradients. Specific richness (in SSB and SV), Sørensen similarity, and SSB density did not show any significant difference between factors. Indicator species differed between SSB and SV for elevation levels or zones. The study underlines the structuring role of flooding as environmental and dispersal filters in riverine plant communities, and demonstrate how dominant processes can differ over a relatively small spatial scale.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program