Date of Award
Master of Science
A typical area-species curve shows that species richness (number of species) and island size are positively correlated. I tested whether the area-species concept, which was developed using islands, could be applied to herbaceous plants in canopy gaps in a hemlock community.
I conducted studies in Limberlost, Shenandoah National Park. I measured the species richness of herbaceous plants in six gaps during the summer and fall of 1995 and eight gaps and one non-gap site in the spring of 1996. The two additional gaps in 1996 extended the upper range of gap sizes. I calculated the correlation between species richness and gap and quadrat size over all seasons (combined seasons) and each season separately (separate seasons).
Three hypotheses were tested: 1) as gap size increases so do species richness values, 2) as quadrat size increases so do species richness values, and 3) within equal sized quadrats in different sized gaps, as gap size. increases so do the species richness values. Within separate seasons species richness values increased with an increase in gap size, but for combined seasons this relationship was not supported. As quadrat size increased there was an increase in species richness values. Within equal sized quadrats in different sized gaps, the values of species richness for separate seasons increased as gap size increased, but for combined seasons this relationship was not supported. Discrepancies between separate and combined seasons may be explained, in part, to the inclusion of the two larger gaps in the former case.
LaCroix, Joseph John, "Area-species curve applies to gaps in a Canada hemlock (Tsuga canadensis (L.) carr.) forest in the Shenandoah National Park" (1998). Master's Theses. 1171.