Population biology of Kosteletzkya pentacarpos (Malvaceae) in the Llobregat delta (Catalonia, NE of Spain)

Joan Pino, Enric De Roa

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Field experiments and wild population monitoring have been performed to study the population biology of the rare long-lived Kosteletzkya pentacarpos (Malvaceae) in the Llobregat delta (Catalonia, NE Spain). Field experiments explored the fate of seeds in soil at different depths, seedling emergence, and seedling survival, growth and flowering with and without canopy cover during the first 2 years of life. They also were used to ascertain the size-related pattern of seedling survivorship and flowering. Field data concerning mortality, growth and fecundity of adult plants were collected yearly in three wild populations for 7-9 years. In old adults (reproducing long before the beginning of the study), ANOVAR tests were performed to compare maximum diameter, total and fertile shoots, and viable seeds per plant between years and populations. New adults (starting flowering the first year of study or in subsequent years) were used to explore, using linear and polynomial regressions, the association of RGR and both total and fertile shoot production with (i) plant size (maximum basal diameter or its logarithm); (ii) plant age (years in adult stage); and (iii) plant age after removing the effect of size and year-to-year fluctuations. In this case, we examined the age-related pattern of the residuals obtained from the regressions with size and year. The study identified the following main demographic features of K. pentacarpos: (i) transient, shallow soil seed bank; (ii) shade tolerance of seedling emergence; (iii) canopy-facilitation of seedling survival and bolting during the first two years of life; (iv) size-related pattern for seedling survivorship but not flowering; (v) exclusive dependence on a fluctuating seed output for reproduction; (vi) rapid adult growth; and (vii) high adult longevity but (viii) rapid depletion of fecundity with age. Seed output was highly constrained by mining insects. The changing size-structure and the decreasing reproductive success of old adults in several populations suggest that K. pentacarpos might undergo a dynamics of population establishment and extinction in the Ricarda marshes. Because of fluctuating reproduction and the lack of a persistent seed bank, the conservation of standing adult populations appears to be a key factor to ensure the persistence of the species. © 2006 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
JournalPlant Ecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


  • Facilitation
  • Kosteletzkya pentacarpos
  • Llobregat delta
  • Long-lived plants
  • Population biology
  • Rare wetland plants


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