Twenty dominant plant species representing different life forms were investigated phenologically over a period of 36 months (January 2004 to December 2006). Plant populations were sampled at down-, mid-, and upstream sites in a desert wadi ecosystem. The results were analyzed using TWINSPAN, DCA and CCA techniques. Five phenological niches were apparent: (1) species flowering all year round, with peaks in spring and autumn such as Ochradenus baccatus; (2) species flowering during winter including Lycium shawii and Tamarix nilotica; (3) species flowering during spring, e.g., Zillaspinosa, Zygophyllum coccineum and Capparis spinosa; (4) species flowering during summer including Iphiona mucronata and Deverra triradiata; and (5) species flowering during autumn that include Atriplex halimus and two Anabasis species. The climatic variables, including temperature, rainfall and relative humidity, affect the phenological niches and between-species differences. Within-species variations occurred between years and there were no between-site variations for most study species. The different plant species exhibited phenological diversity along the course of the wadi ecosystem. The phenological niches are species-specific and environmentally dependent rather than local selective pressures.
ABBAD, A., BENCHAABANE, A., 2004: The phenological study of Atriplex halimus L. African Journal of Ecology 42, 69-73.
ÅGREN, J., EHRLEN, J., SOLBRECK, C., 2008: Spatio-temporal variation in fruit production and seed predation in a perennial herb influenced by habitat quality and population size. Journal of Ecology 96, 334-345.
AUGSPURGER, C. K., 1983: Phenology, flowering synchrony and fruit set of six neotropical shrubs. Biotropica 15, 257-267.
AYYAD, M., ABDEL-RAZIK, M., GHALI, N., 1985: On the phenology of desert species of western Mediterranean coastal region of Egypt. International Journal of Ecological and Environmental Science 9, 169-183.
BORCHERT, R., 1980: Phenology and ecophysiology of tropical trees: Erythrina poeppigiana O. F. Cook. Ecology 61, 1065-1074.
BORCHERT, R., 1994: Soil and stem water storage determine phenology and distribution of tropical dry forest trees. Ecology 75, 1437-1449.
BOULOS, L., 1999-2005: Flora of Egypt, 1-4. Al-Hadara Publishing, Cairo.
CAP, 2002: Community analysis package: A program to search for structure in ecological community data. Pisces Conservation Ltd., Lymington, Hampshire, UK.
COLEY, P. D.,BARONE, J. A., 1996: Herbivory and plant defenses in tropical forests. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 27, 305-335.
EL-ADAWY,H.A.A., 2011:Variation of population dynamics and phenology of desert plant communities. PhD Thesis, Cairo University.
EL-GAMAL, M. H.,EL-ADAWY, H. A. A.,GAAD,M. A., 2008: Developing renewable groundwater resources in arid lands, Eastern Desert of Egypt,Wadi Degla. Modeling Tasks 3, 29-32.
GHAZANFAR, S. A., 1997: The phenology of desert plants: a 3-year study in a gravel desert wadi in northern Oman. Journal of Arid Environments 35, 407-417.
GILBERT, F.,WILLMER, P., SEMIDA, F.,GHAZOUL, J.,ZALAT, S., 1996: Spatial variation in selection in a plant-pollinator system in the wadis of Sinai, Egypt. Oecologia 108, 479-487.
GOULART, M. F., FILHO, J. P. L., LOVATO, M. B., 2005: Phenological variation within and among populations of Plathymenia reticulata in Brazilian Cerrado, the Atlantic forest and transitional sites. Annals of Botany 96, 445-455.
GUNSTER, A., 1994: Phenological niches of coexisting serotinous plants of the Namib Desert. Journal of Tropical Ecology 10, 531-544.
HAMANN, A., 2004: Flowering and fruiting phenology of a Philippine submontane rain forest: climatic factors as proximate and ultimate causes. Journal of Ecology 92, 24-31.
HASSAN, L.M., 2002: Plant life in the Digla Conserved Area, hyperarid desert, Egypt. Online Journal of Biological Science 2, 533-537.
HEGAZY, A. K., 1990: Population ecology and implications for conservation of Cleome droserifolia: a threatened xerophyte. Journal of Arid Environments 19, 269-282.
HEGAZY, A. K.,EESA, N.M., 1991: On the ecology, insect seed-predation, and conservation of a rare and endemic plant species: Ebenus armitagei (Leguminosae). Conservation Biology 5, 317-324.
HEGAZY, A. K.,LOVETT-DOUST, J.,EL-ADAWY, H. A. A., 2011: Size- and season-related sex expression and reproductive performance in gynodioecious Ochradenus baccatus Delile (Resedaceae), at Wadi Degla, Egypt. Flora 206, 1002-1011.
HILL, M. O., 1979: TWINSPAN-A FORTRAN Program for arranging multivariate data in an ordered two-way table by classification of the individuals and attributes. Section of Ecology and Systematics; Cornell University. Ithaca, NY.
HUDSON, I. L., KEATLEY, M. R., 2010: Phenological research, methods for environmental and climate change analysis. Springer, New York.
INOUYE, D. W., SAAVEDRA, F., LEE-YANG, W., 2003: Environmental influences on the phenology and abundance of flowering by Androsace septentrionalis (Primulaceae). American Journal of Botany 90, 905-910.
JACKSON,M. T., 1966: Effects of microclimate on spring flowering phenology. Ecology 47, 407-415.
KASSAS, M., 1966: Plant life in deserts. In: HILLS, E. S. (ed.), Arid lands, 145-180. Methuen, London.
LOBO, J. A., QUESADA, M., STONER, K. E., FUCHS, E. J., HERRERIAS-DIEGO, Y., ROJAS, J.,SABORIO, G., 2003: Factors affecting phenological patterns of bombacaceous trees in seasonal forest in Costa Rica and Mexico. American Journal of Botany 90, 1054-1063.
LUDWIG, J. A., REYNOLDS, J. F., 1988: Statistical ecology: a primer on methods and computing. Jon Wiley and sons, New York.
MARCO, D. E.,CALVINO, A. A., PAEZ, S. A., 2000: Patterns of flowering and fruiting in populations of Larrea divaricata in dry Chaco (Argentina). Journal of Arid Environments 44, 327-346.
MARQUES,M. C.M.,ROPER, J. J.,SALVALAGGIO, A. P. B., 2004: Phenological patterns among plant life-forms in a subtropical forest in southern Brazil. Plant Ecology 173, 203-213.
NEWSTROM, L. E., FRANKIE, G. W.,BAKER, H. G., 1994: Anew classification for plant phenology based on flowering patterns in lowland tropical rain forest trees at La Selva, Costa Rica. Biotropica 26, 141-159.
OPLER, P. A., FRANKIE, G. W., BAKER, H. G., 1976: Rainfall as a factor in the release, timing, and synchronization of anthesis by tropical trees and shrubs. Journal of Biogeography 3, 231-236.
OPLER, P. A., FRANKIE, G. W.,BAKER, H. G., 1980: Comparative phenological wet and dry studies of treelet and shrub species in tropical forest in the lowlands of Costa Rica. Journal of Ecology 68, 167-88.
PAVÓN, N. P., BRIONES, O., 2001: Phenological patterns of nine perennial plants in an intertropical semi-arid Mexican scrub. Journal of Arid Environments 49, 265-277.
PENUELAS, J., FILELLA, I., ZHANG, X., LLORENS, L., OGAYA, R., LLORET, F., COMAS, P., ESTIARTE, M.,TERRADAS, J., 2004: Complex spatiotemporal phenological shifts as a response to rainfall changes. New Phytologist 161, 837-846.
PFEIFER, M.,HEINRICH, W., JETSCHKE, G., 2006: Climate, size and flowering history determine flowering pattern of an orchid. Botanical Journal of the Linnaean Society 151, 511-526.
RATHCKE, B. J., LACEY, E. P., 1985: Phenological patterns of terrestrial plants. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 16, 179-214.
RIVERA, G., ELLIOTT, S., CALDAS, L. S., NICOLOSSI, G., CORADIN, V. T. R., BORCHERT, R., 2002: Increasing day-length induces spring flushing of tropical dry forest trees in the absence of rain. Trees 16, 445-456.
SAKAI, S., MOMOSE, K., YUMOTO, T., NAGAMITSU, T., NAGAMASU, H., HAMID, A. A., NAKASHIZUKA, T., INOUE, T., 1999: Plant reproductive phenology over four years including an episode of general flowering in a lowland dipterocarp forest, Sarawak, Malaysia. American Journal of Botany 86, 1414-1436.
SEGHIERI, J., SIMIER, S., 2002: Variations in phenology of a residual invasive shrub species in Sahelian fallow savannas, south-west Niger. Journal of Tropical Ecology 18, 897-912.
SHALTOUT, K. H., 1987: Pattern, phenology and sex ratio of Egyptian Thymelaea hirsuta populations. Vegetatio 72, 67-73.
STONE, G. N.,WILLMER, P.,ROWE, J. A., 1998: Partitioning of pollinators during flowering in an African Acacia community. Ecology 79, 2808-2827.
TER BRAAK, C. J. F., [MILAUER, P., 2002: CANOCO reference manual and CanoDraw for Windows. User's guide: software for canonical community ordination. Version 4.5. - Microcomputer Power, Ithaca, NY, USA.
VITASSE, Y.,DELZON, S.,BRESSON, C. C.,MICHALET, R.,KREMER, A., 2009: Altitudinal differentiation in growth and phenology among populations of temperate-zone tree species growing in a common garden. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 39, 1259-1269.
WARD, D., 2009: The biology of deserts. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
WOLFE, L. M., BURNS, J. L., 2001: Arare continual flowering strategy and its influence on offspring quality in a gynodioecious plant. American Journal of Botany 88, 1419-1423.
WRIGHT, S. J., CALDERON, O., 1995: Phylogenetic patterns among tropical flowering phenologies. Journal of Ecology 83, 937-948.