Variation in the response of infra specific variants of wet grassland species to manipulated water levels Institute of Terrestrial Ecology 01/09/1999
Watsonia 22: 317-328 (1999)
D.R. Barratt, K.J. Walker, R.F. Pywell, J.O.Mountford & T.H. Sparks
Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Monks Wood, Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE17 2LS
The effects of water levels on the germination, growth and reproductive effort of three wet grassland taxa were studied using an experimental water table facility. In addition, effects on related taxa including ecotypes and cultivars were examined. There were significant differences in biomass allocation and reproductive effort between infraspecific variants of Centurea nigra and Lotus spp. in response to water table level. Variants had higher root and shoot dry-weights, produced more inflorescences and, in some instances, showed greater seedling establishment in the low water table treatments. In addition, significant differences in seedling establishment between infraspecific variants of both C. nigra and Lotus spp. were apparent. These findings have implications for the success of grassland recreation schemes, and the selection of seed for such projects, and suggest that detailed research is needed to provide accurate information regarding the contrasting water table requirements of wetland plants, both at the species and subspecies levels.