Phenotypic Plasticity of Early and Late Successional Forbs in Response to Shifts in Resources

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Date: Nov. 21, 2012
From: PLoS ONE(Vol. 7, Issue 11)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Document Type: Article
Length: 6,713 words
Lexile Measure: 1490L

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Abstract :

We compared the phenotypic plasticity of two early successional forbs of nutrient-poor mobile dunes (Agriophyllum squarrosum and Corispermum macrocarpum) and two later successional forbs (weeds) of stabilized, higher nutrient dunes and cropland (Chenopodium acuminatum and Salsola collina) to variations in environmental factors. A controlled (including soil nutrients, water, and population density) greenhouse experiment was conducted in Horqin sandy land, China. Late successional species had high plasticity in growth response to nutrients and water or high performance in high soil nutrients and water, reflecting their higher nutrient habitat. In contrast, the early successional species have low plasticity, reflecting their adaptation to resource-poor early successional soil. Late successional species did not always have higher reproductive effort than early successional species. Plants did not have a uniform strategy of increasing reproductive effort with any environmental stressors. Reproductive effort increased with increasing water availability and decreasing nutrient levels, while density had no effect. Patterns of plasticity traits for late successional species exhibited a complex of Master-of-some and Jack-of-all-trades. Late successional species had higher performance or higher plasticity than early successional species.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A477052576