Plant community data from a statewide survey of paired serpentine and non-serpentine soils in California, USA

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Authors

Jesse E. D. Miller, Stella Copeland, Kendi Davies, Brian Anacker, Hugh Safford, Susan P. Harrison

Abstract

Soils derived from ultramafic parent materials (hereafter serpentine) provide habitat for unique plant communities containing species with adaptations to the low nutrient levels, high magnesium: calcium ratios, and high metal content (Ni, Zn) that characterize serpentine. Plants on serpentine have long been studied in evolution and ecology, and plants adapted to serpentine contribute disproportionately to plant diversity in many parts of the world.
In 2000-2003, serpentine plant communities were sampled at 107 locations representing the full range of occurrence of serpentine in California, USA, spanning large gradients in climate. In 2009-2010, plant communities were similarly sampled at 97 locations on nonserpentine soil, near to and paired with 97 of the serpentine sampling locations. (Some serpentine locations were revisited in 2009-2010 to assess the degree of change since 2000-2003, which was minimal.) At each serpentine or nonserpentine location, a north- and a south-facing 50 m x10 m plot were sampled. This design produced 97 “sites” each consisting of four “plots” (north-south exposure, serpentine-nonserpentine soil). All plots were initially visited >3 times over 2 years to record plant diversity and cover, and a subset were revisited in 2014 to examine community change after a drought.
The original question guiding the study was how plant diversity is shaped by the spatially patchy nature of the serpentine habitat. Subsequently, we investigated how climate drives plant diversity at multiple scales (within locations, between locations on the same and different soil types, and across entire regions) and at different levels of organization (taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic).

DOI

https://doi.org/10.32942/osf.io/ubp9w

Subjects

Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences, Other Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Keywords

california, edaphic endemics, mediterranean climate, modified whittaker plots, ophiolite, peridotite, plant communities, plant diversity, serpentinite, ultramafic

Dates

Published: 2022-01-14 12:58

License

CC-By Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International