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Assembly processes under severe abiotic filtering: adaptation mechanisms of weed vegetation to the gradient of soil constraints.

Nikolic N, Böcker R, Kostic-Kravljanac L, Nikolic M - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: We analysed the multivariate response of cereal weed assemblages (including biomass and foliar analyses) to a strong man-made soil gradient (from highly calcareous to highly acidic, nutrient-poor soils) over short distances (field scale).The soil gradient favoured a substitution of calcicoles by calcifuges, and an increase in abundance of pseudometallophytes, with preferences for Atlantic climate, broad geographical distribution, hemicryptophytic life form, adapted to low-nutrient and acidic soils, with lower concentrations of Ca, and very narrow range of Cu concentrations in leaves.The trends of abundance of the different ecological groups of indicator species along the soil gradient were systematically reflected in the maintenance of leaf P concentrations, and strong homeostasis in biomass N:P ratio.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute for Multidisciplinary Research, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia.

ABSTRACT

Questions: Effects of soil on vegetation patterns are commonly obscured by other environmental factors; clear and general relationships are difficult to find. How would community assembly processes be affected by a substantial change in soil characteristics when all other relevant factors are held constant? In particular, can we identify some functional adaptations which would underpin such soil-induced vegetation response?

Location: Eastern Serbia: fields partially damaged by long-term and large-scale fluvial deposition of sulphidic waste from a Cu mine; subcontinental/submediterranean climate.

Methods: We analysed the multivariate response of cereal weed assemblages (including biomass and foliar analyses) to a strong man-made soil gradient (from highly calcareous to highly acidic, nutrient-poor soils) over short distances (field scale).

Results: The soil gradient favoured a substitution of calcicoles by calcifuges, and an increase in abundance of pseudometallophytes, with preferences for Atlantic climate, broad geographical distribution, hemicryptophytic life form, adapted to low-nutrient and acidic soils, with lower concentrations of Ca, and very narrow range of Cu concentrations in leaves. The trends of abundance of the different ecological groups of indicator species along the soil gradient were systematically reflected in the maintenance of leaf P concentrations, and strong homeostasis in biomass N:P ratio.

Conclusion: Using annual weed vegetation at the field scale as a fairly simple model, we demonstrated links between gradients in soil properties (pH, nutrient availability) and floristic composition that are normally encountered over large geographic distances. We showed that leaf nutrient status, in particular the maintenance of leaf P concentrations and strong homeostasis of biomass N:P ratio, underpinned a clear functional response of vegetation to mineral stress. These findings can help to understand assembly processes leading to unusual, novel combinations of species which are typically observed as a consequence of strong environmental filtering, as for instance on sites affected by industrial activities.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Major ecological adaptations of weed vegetation along the soil gradient.Ellenberg Indicator Values (a); life form spectra (b); chorological spectra (c). Parameters are weighted by the species cover-abundance (OTV). Weighted mean values + SD marked by the same letter in each colour-coded category are not different at P<0.05.
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pone-0114290-g006: Major ecological adaptations of weed vegetation along the soil gradient.Ellenberg Indicator Values (a); life form spectra (b); chorological spectra (c). Parameters are weighted by the species cover-abundance (OTV). Weighted mean values + SD marked by the same letter in each colour-coded category are not different at P<0.05.

Mentions: The floristic changes (Figures 3–5) made possible the continuous sustenance of weed vegetation (Figure 1) along the soil gradient from highly calcareous to highly acidic, nutrient-impoverished polluted soils. These floristic changes underpinned adaptations to significantly different habitat conditions at a field scale (Figure 6). The most prominent was a succession of different adaptations of dominant species along the soil pH gradient (Figure 6a). Under the same climatic and management conditions, in the same field, significant changes in soil properties favoured perennials with vegetative propagation (hemicryptophytes), typical of cooler and moister climates, at the expense of therophytes (Figure 6b) that normally dominate cereal weed communities. This was generally consistent with the observed decrease of the continentality index (Figure 6a). Likewise, the induced soil acidification and nutrient impoverishment underpinned the substitution of the local floral elements (most markedly of the (sub)-Pontic and sub-Mediterranean chorotype) by the adapted species of broad phytogeographical provenance (Circumpolar chorotype; Figure 6c).


Assembly processes under severe abiotic filtering: adaptation mechanisms of weed vegetation to the gradient of soil constraints.

Nikolic N, Böcker R, Kostic-Kravljanac L, Nikolic M - PLoS ONE (2014)

Major ecological adaptations of weed vegetation along the soil gradient.Ellenberg Indicator Values (a); life form spectra (b); chorological spectra (c). Parameters are weighted by the species cover-abundance (OTV). Weighted mean values + SD marked by the same letter in each colour-coded category are not different at P<0.05.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4256224&req=5

pone-0114290-g006: Major ecological adaptations of weed vegetation along the soil gradient.Ellenberg Indicator Values (a); life form spectra (b); chorological spectra (c). Parameters are weighted by the species cover-abundance (OTV). Weighted mean values + SD marked by the same letter in each colour-coded category are not different at P<0.05.
Mentions: The floristic changes (Figures 3–5) made possible the continuous sustenance of weed vegetation (Figure 1) along the soil gradient from highly calcareous to highly acidic, nutrient-impoverished polluted soils. These floristic changes underpinned adaptations to significantly different habitat conditions at a field scale (Figure 6). The most prominent was a succession of different adaptations of dominant species along the soil pH gradient (Figure 6a). Under the same climatic and management conditions, in the same field, significant changes in soil properties favoured perennials with vegetative propagation (hemicryptophytes), typical of cooler and moister climates, at the expense of therophytes (Figure 6b) that normally dominate cereal weed communities. This was generally consistent with the observed decrease of the continentality index (Figure 6a). Likewise, the induced soil acidification and nutrient impoverishment underpinned the substitution of the local floral elements (most markedly of the (sub)-Pontic and sub-Mediterranean chorotype) by the adapted species of broad phytogeographical provenance (Circumpolar chorotype; Figure 6c).

Bottom Line: We analysed the multivariate response of cereal weed assemblages (including biomass and foliar analyses) to a strong man-made soil gradient (from highly calcareous to highly acidic, nutrient-poor soils) over short distances (field scale).The soil gradient favoured a substitution of calcicoles by calcifuges, and an increase in abundance of pseudometallophytes, with preferences for Atlantic climate, broad geographical distribution, hemicryptophytic life form, adapted to low-nutrient and acidic soils, with lower concentrations of Ca, and very narrow range of Cu concentrations in leaves.The trends of abundance of the different ecological groups of indicator species along the soil gradient were systematically reflected in the maintenance of leaf P concentrations, and strong homeostasis in biomass N:P ratio.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute for Multidisciplinary Research, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia.

ABSTRACT

Questions: Effects of soil on vegetation patterns are commonly obscured by other environmental factors; clear and general relationships are difficult to find. How would community assembly processes be affected by a substantial change in soil characteristics when all other relevant factors are held constant? In particular, can we identify some functional adaptations which would underpin such soil-induced vegetation response?

Location: Eastern Serbia: fields partially damaged by long-term and large-scale fluvial deposition of sulphidic waste from a Cu mine; subcontinental/submediterranean climate.

Methods: We analysed the multivariate response of cereal weed assemblages (including biomass and foliar analyses) to a strong man-made soil gradient (from highly calcareous to highly acidic, nutrient-poor soils) over short distances (field scale).

Results: The soil gradient favoured a substitution of calcicoles by calcifuges, and an increase in abundance of pseudometallophytes, with preferences for Atlantic climate, broad geographical distribution, hemicryptophytic life form, adapted to low-nutrient and acidic soils, with lower concentrations of Ca, and very narrow range of Cu concentrations in leaves. The trends of abundance of the different ecological groups of indicator species along the soil gradient were systematically reflected in the maintenance of leaf P concentrations, and strong homeostasis in biomass N:P ratio.

Conclusion: Using annual weed vegetation at the field scale as a fairly simple model, we demonstrated links between gradients in soil properties (pH, nutrient availability) and floristic composition that are normally encountered over large geographic distances. We showed that leaf nutrient status, in particular the maintenance of leaf P concentrations and strong homeostasis of biomass N:P ratio, underpinned a clear functional response of vegetation to mineral stress. These findings can help to understand assembly processes leading to unusual, novel combinations of species which are typically observed as a consequence of strong environmental filtering, as for instance on sites affected by industrial activities.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus