Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (204 KB)

Title: A stochastic population model for Lepidium papilliferum (Brassicaceae), a rare desert ephemeral with a persistent seed bank

Author: Meyer, Susan E.; Quinney, Dana; Weaver, Jay;

Date: 2006

Source: American Journal of Botany. 93(6): 891-902.

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Population viability analysis (PVA) is a valuable tool for rare plant conservation, but PVA for plants with persistent seed banks is difficult without reliable information on seed bank processes. We modeled the population dynamics of the Snake River Plains ephemeral Lepidium papilliferum using data from an 11-yr artificial seed bank experiment to estimate age-specific vital rates for viability loss and germination. We related variation in postgermination demographic parameters to annual variation in precipitation patterns and used these relationships to construct a stochastic population model using precipitation driver variables. This enabled us to incorporate realistic levels of environmental variability into the model. A model incorporating best estimates for parameter values resulted in a mean trajectory for seed bank size that remained essentially stable through time, although there was a measurable risk of extinction over a 100-yr period for the study population under this scenario. Doubling the annual seed viability loss rate resulted in near-certain extinction, as did increasing first-year germination to 100%, showing the importance of the persistent seed bank. Interestingly, increasing environmental variance substantially decreased the risk of extinction, presumably because this plant relies on extremely good years to restock the persistent seed bank, while extremely bad years have little impact. If every year were average in this desert environment, the species could not persist. Simulated effects of livestock trampling resulted in greatly increased extinction risk, even over time frames as short as 15 years.

Keywords: demography, endangered species, Jensen's inequality, population viability analysis, seed bank, simulation, slick spot peppergrass, stochastic model

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication. (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)



Meyer, Susan E.; Quinney, Dana; Weaver, Jay. 2006. A stochastic population model for Lepidium papilliferum (Brassicaceae), a rare desert ephemeral with a persistent seed bank. American Journal of Botany. 93(6): 891-902.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.