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  • 1 Texas Tech University Department of Natural Resources Management Lubbock Texas 79409-2125 USA
  • | 2 Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Anahuac Texas 77514 USA
  • | 3 University of Louisiana at Monroe Department of Biology Monroe Louisiana 71209-0520 USA
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Disturbance is considered one of the main factors influencing plant species composition and diversity. We conducted a field study to address the plant community response in a coastal marsh to a major disturbance. In 1992, muskrats ( Ondatra zibethicus L.) completely removed vegetation within a 450 ha area of intermediate coastal marsh in Texas, USA. We used vegetation data collected prior to the disturbance (1989–1991) as a baseline for comparison to that recorded annually for a decade (1992–2002) following the disturbance. We compared species diversity, richness, relative abundance, evenness, and species similarity between pre and postdisturbance periods to evaluate the temporal response of the disturbed plant community. Plant diversity in the study area returned to predisturbance levels after 10 years. Species diversity in the study area had two peaks following the main disturbance. These peaks are associated with fluctuations of the water levels in the area. Our results suggest that it is possible to control the sedge or grass dominance in a community by subjecting the area to a carefully timed willful disturbance (e.g., grazing or fluctuating water levels) to achieve management goals. However, vegetation composition in the area changed from a grass-dominated (predisturbance) to sedge-dominated (postdisturbance) community. At the conclusion of sampling in 2002, plant species abundance, evenness, dominance, and richness conditions reached levels similar to predisturbance. However, the species composition after a decade postdisturbance differed from that during the predisturbance period. Therefore, even though we are able to predict the return of species diversity, evenness, and richness of a community after a period following disturbance, the actual species composition of an intermediate marsh following recovery is difficult to determine accurately, as it is contingent on several biotic and abiotic conditions that prevail while the system recovers from disturbance.

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Senior editors

Editor(s)-in-Chief: Podani, János

Editor(s)-in-Chief: Jordán, Ferenc

Honorary Editor(s): Orlóci, László

Editorial Board

  • Madhur Anand, CAN (forest ecology, computational ecology, and ecological complexity)
  • S. Bagella, ITA (temporal dynamics, including succession, community level patterns of species richness and diversity, experimental studies of plant, animal and microbial communities, plant communities of the Mediterranean)
  • P. Batáry, HUN (landscape ecology, agroecology, ecosystem services)
  • P. A. V. Borges, PRT (community level patterns of species richness and diversity, sampling in theory and practice)
  • A. Davis, GER (supervised learning, multitrophic interactions, food webs, multivariate analysis, ecological statistics, experimental design, fractals, parasitoids, species diversity, community assembly, ticks, biodiversity, climate change, biological networks, cranes, olfactometry, evolution)
  • Z. Elek, HUN (insect ecology, invertebrate conservation, population dynamics, especially of long-term field studies, insect sampling)
  • T. Kalapos, HUN (community level plant ecophysiology, grassland ecology, vegetation-soil relationship)
  • G. M. Kovács, HUN (microbial ecology, plant-fungus interactions, mycorrhizas)
  • W. C. Liu,TWN (community-based ecological theory and modelling issues, temporal dynamics, including succession, trophic interactions, competition, species response to the environment)
  • L. Mucina, AUS (vegetation survey, syntaxonomy, evolutionary community ecology, assembly rules, global vegetation patterns, mediterranean ecology)
  • P. Ódor, HUN (plant communities, bryophyte ecology, numerical methods)
  • F. Rigal, FRA (island biogeography, macroecology, functional diversity, arthropod ecology)
  • D. Rocchini, ITA (biodiversity, multiple scales, spatial scales, species distribution, spatial ecology, remote sensing, ecological informatics, computational ecology)
  • F. Samu, HUN (landscape ecology, biological control, generalist predators, spiders, arthropods, conservation biology, sampling methods)
  • U. Scharler, ZAF (ecological networks, food webs, estuaries, marine, mangroves, stoichiometry, temperate, subtropical)
  • D. Schmera, HUN (aquatic communities, functional diversity, ecological theory)
  • M. Scotti, GER (community-based ecological theory and modelling issues, trophic interactions, competition, species response to the environment, ecological networks)
  • B. Tóthmérész, HUN (biodiversity, soil zoology, spatial models, macroecology, ecological modeling)
  • S. Wollrab, GER (aquatic ecology, food web dynamics, plankton ecology, predator-prey interactions)

 

Advisory Board

  • S. Bartha, HUN
  • S.L. Collins, USA
  • T. Czárán, HUN
  • E. Feoli, ITA
  • N. Kenkel, CAN
  • J. Lepš, CZE
  • S. Mazzoleni, ITA
  • Cs. Moskát, HUN
  • B. Oborny, HUN
  • M.W. Palmer, USA
  • G.P. Patil, USA
  • V. de Patta Pillar, BRA
  • C. Ricotta, ITA
  • Á. Szentesi, HUN

PODANI, JÁNOS
E-mail: podani@ludens.elte.hu


JORDÁN, FERENC
E-mail: jordan.ferenc@gmail.com

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Community Ecology
Language English
Size A4
Year of
Foundation
2000
Volumes
per Year
1
Issues
per Year
2
Founder Akadémiai Kiadó
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Address
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245
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Springer Nature Switzerland AG
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ISSN 1585-8553 (Print)
ISSN 1588-2756 (Online)