Effects of scale and disturbance on rates of immigration and extinction of species in prairies

TitleEffects of scale and disturbance on rates of immigration and extinction of species in prairies
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1992
AuthorsGlenn, SM, Collins, SL
Pagination273 -280
Accession NumberKNZ00358

Relationships between local annual immigration and extinction rate of plant species and total species richness were determined from long-term data in permanent plots in tallgrass and shortgrass prairies in Kansas. Combining plots resulted in higher equilibrium numbers of species as predicted from immigration and extinction rates. Immigration and extinction rates also increased with scale. Extinction rates are higher because the regional scale supports more rare species which, in turn, have high probabilities of extinction. We also tested the hypothesis that extinction rates would be higher on burned versus unburned grasslands, and that immigration rates would be higher on grazed versus ungrazed grasslands. Extinction rates were positively correlated with the number of species at a site, and this relationship was not altered by burning or grazing. Immigration rates were variable, but were sometimes positively correlated with growing season precipitation. Immigration rates decreased in years sites were burned. Therefore, after fire, the number of species going locally extinct was still dependent on earlier species richness, but the number of species added to the site was reduced. Variances in immigration and extinction rates were high, therefore, confident predictions regarding the effects of burning or grazing regimes on species richness could not be made. Variance in rates of immigration and extinction results in a range of values within which the equilibrium number of species fluctuates randomly