Walter P. Carson

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The increased growth rates, higher total biomass, and increased seed production occasionally found in grazed or clipped plants are more accurately interpreted as the results of growth at one end of a spectrum of normal plant regrowth patterns, rather than as overcompensation, herbivore-stimulated growth, plantherbivore mutualisms, or herbivore enhanced(More)
1 Regeneration in forest canopy gaps is thought to lead invariably to the rapid recruitment and growth of trees and the redevelopment of the canopy. Our observations, however, suggest that an alternate successional pathway is also likely, whereby gap-phase regeneration is dominated by lianas and stalled in a low-canopy state for many years. We investigated(More)
The maintenance of species diversity by treefall gaps is a long-standing paradigm in forest ecology. Gaps are presumed to provide an environment in which tree species of differing competitive abilities partition heterogeneous resources. The empirical evidence to support this paradigm, however, remains scarce, and some recent studies even suggest that gaps(More)
Treefall gaps are hypothesized to maintain diversity by creating resource-rich, heterogeneous habitats necessary for species coexistence. This hypothesis, however, is not supported empirically for shade-tolerant trees, the dominant plant group in tropical forests. The failure of gaps to maintain shade-tolerant trees remains puzzling, and the hypothesis(More)
We studied the effect of removing and adding plant litter in different seasons on biomass, density, and species richness in a Solidago dominated old-field community in New Jersey, USA. We removed all the naturally accumulated plant litter in November (658 g/m2) and in May (856 g/m2) and doubled the amount of litter in November and May in replicated plots (1(More)
Stefan A. Schnitzer,* Peter B. Reich, Belle Bergner and Walter P. Carson Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota, 1530 Cleveland Avenue N., St Paul, MN 55108, Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, 415 S. University Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19104, and Department of Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, A-234 Langley Hall,(More)
We tested the hypothesis that phytophagous insects would have a strong top-down effect on early successional plant communities and would thus alter the course of succession. To test this hypothesis, we suppressed above-ground insects at regular intervals with a broad-spectrum insecticide through the first 3 years of old-field succession at three widely(More)
1 We hypothesized that severe drought affects the structure of tropical forests by favouring seedlings of some species or groups at the expense of others. To test this hypothesis, we irrigated naturally occurring woody seedlings during an El Niño-related drought in seasonal moist tropical forest on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. We predicted that irrigated(More)
Feedbacks between soil communities and plants may determine abundance and diversity in plant communities by influencing fitness and competitive outcomes. We tested the core hypotheses of soil community feedback theory: plant species culture distinct soil communities that alter plant performance and the outcome of interspecific competition. We applied this(More)
1 At local spatial scales, species richness tends to fall as productivity rises. Most explanations have focused on increased extinction, but, instead, we test experimentally whether increased soil fertility reduces recruitment. Specifically, we test whether variation in recruitment is due to source limitation, germination limitation or establishment(More)