Dynamic Spatial Patterns During Succession: Resolving Patterns and Mechanisms using Grid-Based Spatial Automata Models
(Project Summary from NSF Research Grant). Our major objective is to investigate how the spatial relationships among individual plants contribute to successional dynamics and influences the spatial patterns that result. We propose to investigate the effects of spatial interactions at the individual level on population dynamics and ecosystem succession on the Pumice Plain near Mount St. Helens, Washington. Spatial analyses of annual field survey data will test the significance of number, size, and species of neighboring plants on growth, survival, and recruitment. Computer models using grid-based spatial automata will implement alternative life histories and individual-level interactions to simulate spatial dynamics during primary succession. The results of this study will provide insights into integration of spatial dynamics across three levels of ecological organization: at the individual level, spatially modified growth rates; at the population level, spatially modified recruitment and mortality; at the ecosystem level, dynamic spatial patterns during succession.