Local disturbances are known to influence patterns of plant species occurrences in a variety of habitats. To explore potential effects of pocket gopher disturbance on Puget Sound prairie plant
communities, we recorded plant species present on and immediately surrounding gopher mounds as well as in non gopherdisturbed control plots at three different prairies. At all sites, overall
plant species diversity was higher on the gopher mounds than in control plots; however greater
diversities of nonnative forbs ere found on the gopher mounds than in the control plots. Although
more nonnative than native species were generally present on the mounds, several important
native species (i.e. Aster curtus) apparently preferred gopher mounds to controls. Differences between prairies suggested that background vegetation plays a key role in determining which
species colonize gopher mounds.
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