Main content area

Ecological features affect patterns of plant communities in Mediterranean temporary rock pools

Minissale, P., Sciandrello, S.
Plant biosystems 2016 v.150 no.1 pp. 171-179
Callitriche, Elatine, Lythrum hyssopifolia, altitude, botanical composition, correspondence analysis, islands, limestone, plant communities, soil depth, Mediterranean region, Sicily
In this paper, the results of a study on the ecology, floristic composition and spatial assemblages of temporary limestone rock pool plant communities of a central Mediterranean area (S Sicily, the Maltese Islands and Lampedusa) are presented. A total of 76 temporary pools were studied, distributed between the infra-mediterranean and thermo-mediterranean bioclimatic belt. For each temporary rock pools, the floristic composition and cover of the species were determined using standard relevé methods. Moreover, for 50 of these pools, pH, conductivity, soil depth, water-level, altitude and floristic richness and diversity index were assessed. The plant communities were analysed using unweighted pair group method using arithmetic averages and Euclidean distance classification and ordination methods such as canonical correspondence analysis (CCA). A total of four plant communities with specific floristic composition were established, each one with a different dominant species: Callitriche truncata ; Elatine gussonei ; Tillaea vaillantii and Lythrum hyssopifolia . According to the CCA, the spatial patterns of plant communities follow an ecological gradient related to water level and depth/size of the rock pools: these are the main ecological features affecting the distribution of the plant communities of rock pools. In addition, floristic richness and diversity index showed a slight increase in trend from temporary pools submerged for long periods towards pools submerged for short periods.