Dispersal of Goeppertia marantifolia clonal offspring increases with greater canopy openness and larger plant size

David P. Matlaga, Rachel K. Snyder, Carol C Horvitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Many plants within the neotropical understorey produce both seeds and clonal offspring. Plant attributes (i.e. size) and variability in light can influence seed dispersal but it is not known if these factors influence the dispersal of clonal offspring. Our goal was to determine if canopy openness and plant size influence clonal-offspring dispersal of the herb Goeppertia marantifolia, which produces clonal bulbils on above-ground shoots. We monitored plants in permanent plots with varying levels of canopy openness in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica. We recorded canopy openness, leaf area and the distance clonal offspring travelled from their parent plant (N = 283). Our path analysis model demonstrated that canopy openness had a strong positive effect on dispersal distance, while the association between clonal-offspring dispersal distance and parent plant leaf area was only weakly positive. On average, plants experiencing high canopy openness dispersed their clonal offspring further than plants under low canopy openness (124 cm vs. 79 cm, respectively). Contrary to studies on species that utilize rhizomes and stolons for clonal reproduction, we found that in this bulbil-producing species light availability is positively associated with clonal dispersal distance. Therefore, the influence of resource availability on spatial population dynamics of clonal species may be influenced by the species' growth-form.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-113
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Tropical Ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Clonal dispersal
  • Clonal mobility
  • Dispersal distance light availability
  • Vegetative growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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