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Apparent plasticity in functional traits determining competitive ability and spatial distribution: a case from desert.

Xie JB, Xu GQ, Jenerette GD, Bai YF, Wang ZY, Li Y - Sci Rep (2015)

Bottom Line: Combining the framework with a meta-analysis, a series of field surveys and a competition experiment, we aimed to determine the causes of the dune/interdune distribution patterns of two Haloxylon species in the Gurbantonggut Desert.A key implication of our results is that the apparent plasticity in functional traits of plants determines their response to environmental change.Without identifying the apparent and true plasticity, we would substantially overestimate the magnitude, duration and even the direction of plant responses in functional traits to climate change.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: 1] State Key Lab of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 40-3 South Beijing Road, Urumqi, Xinjiang 830011, P. R. China [2] University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 19A, Yu-Quan Road, Beijing 100039, P. R. China.

ABSTRACT
Species competitive abilities and their distributions are closely related to functional traits such as biomass allocation patterns. When we consider how nutrient supply affects competitive abilities, quantifying the apparent and true plasticity in functional traits is important because the allometric relationships among traits are universal in plants. We propose to integrate the notion of allometry and the classical reaction norm into a composite theoretical framework that quantifies the apparent and true plasticity. Combining the framework with a meta-analysis, a series of field surveys and a competition experiment, we aimed to determine the causes of the dune/interdune distribution patterns of two Haloxylon species in the Gurbantonggut Desert. We found that (1) the biomass allocation patterns of both Haloxylon species in responses to environmental conditions were apparent rather than true plasticity and (2) the allometric allocation patterns affected the plants' competition for soil nutrient supply. A key implication of our results is that the apparent plasticity in functional traits of plants determines their response to environmental change. Without identifying the apparent and true plasticity, we would substantially overestimate the magnitude, duration and even the direction of plant responses in functional traits to climate change.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Effects of N and P supply on root:shoot ratio of H. ammodendron(A) and H. persicum (B) in mixture pots. Each dot shows the mean of three replicates.
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f9: Effects of N and P supply on root:shoot ratio of H. ammodendron(A) and H. persicum (B) in mixture pots. Each dot shows the mean of three replicates.

Mentions: Although biomass of both species was significantly affected by nutrient treatments, differences among nutrient treatments were small compared to differences between plants growing in monocultures and in mixtures (compare the F-values in Table 2). Therefore, in mixture pots, competition constrained the biomass of both species in response to nutrient supply and was the major driver of biomass variation (indicated by significant N × P × competition in Table 2). In area I (low nutrition), the relative competitive strength indicated that H. persicum was the superior competitor (Fig. 7A); in contrast, in area II (high nutrition), the relative competitive strength indicated that H. ammodendron was superior (Fig. 7A). The relative dominance index in mixture pots also showed this pattern (Fig. 7B). These results resembled the patterns of species distribution observed in the field (Fig. 3A). At least part of the explanation for the contrasting competitive responses of the two Haloxylon species lies in their differences in allocation patterns (Figs 6 and 9) and nutritional physiology (Figs 8 and 10).


Apparent plasticity in functional traits determining competitive ability and spatial distribution: a case from desert.

Xie JB, Xu GQ, Jenerette GD, Bai YF, Wang ZY, Li Y - Sci Rep (2015)

Effects of N and P supply on root:shoot ratio of H. ammodendron(A) and H. persicum (B) in mixture pots. Each dot shows the mean of three replicates.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4507175&req=5

f9: Effects of N and P supply on root:shoot ratio of H. ammodendron(A) and H. persicum (B) in mixture pots. Each dot shows the mean of three replicates.
Mentions: Although biomass of both species was significantly affected by nutrient treatments, differences among nutrient treatments were small compared to differences between plants growing in monocultures and in mixtures (compare the F-values in Table 2). Therefore, in mixture pots, competition constrained the biomass of both species in response to nutrient supply and was the major driver of biomass variation (indicated by significant N × P × competition in Table 2). In area I (low nutrition), the relative competitive strength indicated that H. persicum was the superior competitor (Fig. 7A); in contrast, in area II (high nutrition), the relative competitive strength indicated that H. ammodendron was superior (Fig. 7A). The relative dominance index in mixture pots also showed this pattern (Fig. 7B). These results resembled the patterns of species distribution observed in the field (Fig. 3A). At least part of the explanation for the contrasting competitive responses of the two Haloxylon species lies in their differences in allocation patterns (Figs 6 and 9) and nutritional physiology (Figs 8 and 10).

Bottom Line: Combining the framework with a meta-analysis, a series of field surveys and a competition experiment, we aimed to determine the causes of the dune/interdune distribution patterns of two Haloxylon species in the Gurbantonggut Desert.A key implication of our results is that the apparent plasticity in functional traits of plants determines their response to environmental change.Without identifying the apparent and true plasticity, we would substantially overestimate the magnitude, duration and even the direction of plant responses in functional traits to climate change.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: 1] State Key Lab of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 40-3 South Beijing Road, Urumqi, Xinjiang 830011, P. R. China [2] University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 19A, Yu-Quan Road, Beijing 100039, P. R. China.

ABSTRACT
Species competitive abilities and their distributions are closely related to functional traits such as biomass allocation patterns. When we consider how nutrient supply affects competitive abilities, quantifying the apparent and true plasticity in functional traits is important because the allometric relationships among traits are universal in plants. We propose to integrate the notion of allometry and the classical reaction norm into a composite theoretical framework that quantifies the apparent and true plasticity. Combining the framework with a meta-analysis, a series of field surveys and a competition experiment, we aimed to determine the causes of the dune/interdune distribution patterns of two Haloxylon species in the Gurbantonggut Desert. We found that (1) the biomass allocation patterns of both Haloxylon species in responses to environmental conditions were apparent rather than true plasticity and (2) the allometric allocation patterns affected the plants' competition for soil nutrient supply. A key implication of our results is that the apparent plasticity in functional traits of plants determines their response to environmental change. Without identifying the apparent and true plasticity, we would substantially overestimate the magnitude, duration and even the direction of plant responses in functional traits to climate change.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus