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Dissertation Research: Mechanisms of Plant Succession in Coastal Lake Michigan Sand Dunes

9310785 Tilman This study combines theory, observation, experiments, and paleoecology methods in a comprehensive and mechanistic investigation of plant succession in coastal Lake Michigan sand dunes. Experiments will distinguish among potential environmental constraints limiting the distribution and abundance of plant species along a complex gradient. The influence of water stress, competition for water, nitrogen stress, competition for nitrogen, competition for light, colonization constraints, sand burial, and herbivory on seedling survival will be tested for six dominant species in a seedling transplant experiment. %%% Knowledge derived from this research will determine the importance of various constraints and tradeoffs during succession. The study site is ideally suited for this research, and the attempt to address the relative effects of several environmental factors is a unique aspect of this project. ***

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