Author’s Name: Due Date: Environmental Factors That Affect the Mode of Dispersal in Plants Dispersal plays a fundamental role in determining the distribution structure of species within a given habitat. To a greater extent, it determines the contribution/input of a given pool of species to certain localized landscapes (Ricklefs, Qian and White 132)…
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As a matter of fact, the degree with which dispersal influences community composition, holding other processes constant, remains an open question to be explored in the realms of academia. In an attempt to address this question, this paper examines the extent to which environmental conditions impacts on the variation in community composition, with reference to plants, visa viz spatial patterns found in the different habitats. Noteworthy from the onset, spatial distribution patterns of both plants and animal species are oftentimes attributed to dispersal limitation (Tuomisto, Ruokolainen and Yli-Halla 242; Cottenie 1177). By definition, dispersal refers to an ecological process resulting into a shift of location by an individual away from the population/location of origin, with the eventual effect of setting forth a new reproduction lineage distant apart from the mother organism. In plants, ‘dispersal’’ generally mean the process of seed relocation from a mother plant to a destination site. It represents the first step of plant colonization, which also encompasses establishment processes; that is, germination survival and plant growth (Vittoz, and Engler 112). The most common forms of dispersal include natal dispersal-initial movement of given species from the original location (birth site) to new locations; Adult dispersal-this entails shifting from the location of birth after attaining reproductive maturity, and usually involves species’ movement from one habitat to another; and gamete dispersal, which is mostly a common dispersal mode for adult individuals with non-motile characteristics, such as plants. New site relocation is almost a usual event in the life cycle of many plants and considered an aspect of adaption traits to certain habitats. Given the distinguishing characteristic of limited mobility, plants basically rely upon a number of dispersal vectors, both abiotic and biotic, to transport their propagules, from one location to the next (Carr, Robertson, Platt and Peet 1606). These propagules can either be dispersed away from their birth site individually or collectively in both space and time. The patterns of plant dispersal modes, by and large, depend on the dispersal mechanism, which in turn has important implications on the ultimate demographic and genetic distribution of plant populations within a particular habitat. There are quite a number of environmental factors that play crucial roles in the process of plant propagules dispersal processes. An important fact to note is the fact that some plants are utterly serotinous and only respond to certain environmental stimuli to shed off some of their offspring for a new beginning. Plants disseminules, in particular, comprise of seeds, fruits, and spores, all of which bear distinct modifications for relocation away from the parent plants by means of the ever available environmental kinetic energy. In fact, the distance traveled by a single disseminule is determined by the velocity as well as direction of movement taken by the agent causing the dispersion. Flying animals, water currents, and winds fall into the category of successful agents capable of carrying out long-distance passive dispersal. Light hairy seeds and fruits are easily and efficiently carried by the wind. Good examples are the Hypochaeris radicata (Asteraceae) seeds, which possess unique modifications allowing its
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