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  • 1
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Plasticity ; Light intensity ; Allocation ; Abutilon
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Summary Plasticity of plant traits is commonly quantified by comparing different phenotypes at the same age. In this paper, we present a method in which the effect of resource conditions on plant weight is used as a basis for quantifying the plasticity of individual plant traits. Abutilon theophrasti individuals were grown in, and some transferred between, high and low intensity light conditions, resulting in four phenotypes. Plant traits were found to exhibit different degrees of plasticity, decreasing in this order: height; specific leaf area; allocation to branch roots; allocation to leaf area; number of nodes; allocation to tap roots; allocation to stem; allocation to leaf weight. Under these conditions, individuals of the four phenotypes had very similar heights when compared at the same age, but very different heights when compared at the same plant weight. The latter comparison indicates that light intensity influences height independently of its influence on plant weight. Individuals that were transferred from high to low light had greater allocation that had not been transferred, but individuals of all phenotypes had nearly the same leaf weight allocation when compared at the same plant weight. The latter comparison indicates that light intensity influeces leaf weight allocation mostly by influencing plant weight. In the phenotype resulting from the transfer of plants from low to high light, reproduction was stimulated much less than plant weight and axillary leaf growth, and reproductive allocation was delayed relative to the other three phenotypes. We conclude that when plasticity is measured by comparing phenotypes at the same plant weight, the effects of resources on plant size can be excluded from the quantification.
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  • 2
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Plasticity ; Growth rate ; Photosynthesis ; Abutilon
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Summary We present a method for quantifying the growth advantage, if any, that results from the plasticity of plant traits in response to growth in high vs. low resource levels. The method, which uses two phenotypes and two resource levels, quantifies the average advantage that a phenotype has, in its own set of conditions, over the other phenotype. The method is applied to the growth of two phenotypes of Abutilon theophrasti, induced by high and low light intensity, in response to two levels of incident light intensity. We calculated the growth advantage first using relative growth rate, and second using whole-plant photosynthetic assimilation rate, as the response variable. Then we used the photosynthetic responses to changes in light intensity to calculate changes in growth rates of each phenotype when exposed to a change in light conditions. These three quantifications of growth advantage broadly agree with one another. Despite the great plasticity of its traits induced by growth in high vs. low light intensity, whole-plant plasticity did not allow Abutilon theophrasti to exhibit a significant growth advantage under these conditions. Indeed, the relative growth rate of the low light phenotype greatly exceeded that of the high light phenotype in high incident light conditions. This may have resulted from the higher leaf area ratio of the low light phenotype. Furthermore, the high light phenotype had significantly greater transpiration rate in both light conditions. For these reasons we suggest that light-induced plasticity of traits in Abutilon theophrasti may confer advantage in response to the variation in vapor pressure deficit that is associated with variation in light intensity. Light-induced plasticity may also be advantageous because under high incident light conditions the high-light phenotype has greater reproductive allocation than the low-light phenotype.
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  • 3
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Growth analysis ; Competition ; C3−C4-plants ; CO2 elevation
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Summary Detailed growth analysis in conjunction with information on leaf display and nitrogen uptake was used to interpret competition between Abutilon theophrasti, a C3 annual, and Amaranthus retroflexus, a C4 annual, under ambient (350 μl l-1) and two levels of elevated (500 and 700 μl l-1) CO2. Plants were grown both individually and in competition with each other. Competition caused a reduction in growth in both species, but for different reasons. In Abutilon, decreases in leaf area ratio (LAR) were responsible, whereas decreased unit leaf rate (ULR) was involved in the case of Amaranthus. Mean canopy height was lower in Amaranthus than Abutilon which may explain the low ULR of Amaranthus in competition. The decrease in LAR of Abutilon was associated with an increase in root/shoot ratio implying that Abutilon was limited by competition for below ground resources. The root/shoot ratio of Amaranthus actually decreased with competition, and Amaranthus had a much higher rate of nitrogen uptake per unit of root than did Abutilon. These latter results suggest that Amaranthus was better able to compete for below ground resources than Abutilon. Although the growth of both species was reduced by competition, generally speaking, the growth of Amaranthus was reduced to a greater extent than that of Abutilon. Regression analysis suggests that the success of Abutilon in competition was due to its larger starting capital (seed size) which gave it an early advantage over Amaranthus. Elevated CO2 had a positive effect upon biomass in Amaranthus, and to a lesser extent, Abutilon. These effects were limited to the early part of the experiment in the case of the individually grown plants, however. Only Amaranthus exhibited a significant increase in relative growth rate (RGR). In spite of the transitory effect of CO2 upon size in individually grown plants, level of CO2 did effect final biomass of competitively grown plants. Abutilon grown in competition with Amaranthus had a greater final biomass than Amaranthus at ambient CO2 levels, but this difference disappeared to a large extent at elevated CO2. The high RGR of Amaranthus at elevated CO2 levels allowed it to overcome the difference in initial size between the two species.
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  • 4
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Summary Siblings of Abutilon theophrasti, were grown on a nutrient gradient. The plants grown at higher nutrient levels were larger and produced larger and more seeds than plants grown at lower soil nutrient concentrations. There were no differences in germinability of seeds, but the competitive abilities of resulting plants were markedly different. In two different competition experiments designed to eliminate the effects of genotype, seed size, and germination time, by using synchronously germinated seedlings derived from similar size seed from plants grown at different nutrient levels, we found that plants from seeds produced at higher nutrient levels consistently, outperformed plants from seeds produced at the lower nutrient levels. The dominance of seeds produced at higher nutrient levels may be explained by the fact that they had markedly higher concentrations of nitrogen than did seeds produced at lower soil nutrient levels. The additional advantage of increased seed quality to plants controlling more of the nutrient resource than their neighbors would be expected to accelerate their contributions to the gene pool of the population.
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  • 5
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Summary We examined the extent of ovule abortion and the within-fruit pattern of abortion inCassia fasciculata, an annual legume, and tested the hypothesis that abortion can result from competition for limited maternal resources among developing fruits and seeds. In a natural population at Mayview, IL, 53.4% of ovules in mature fruits matured as seeds; 43.4% showed some development but aborted, and 3.1% showed no development over virgin ovules. In a greenhouse experiment in which treatments were applied after most fruits were initiated, nutrient addition and partial root removel had no effect on abortion, but drought reduced the proportion of ovules maturing to 75% of the control mean. A fruit thinning experiment was conducted in which the number of fruits initiated on certain plants was limited. Control plants had more ovule abortion than fruit-thinned plants, suggesting that abortion resulted from competition for limited maternal resources. A “position effect” was observed in both field and greenhouse populations; ovules toward the fruit base (pedicellar end) had higher frequencies of abortion than those at the distal end. Thus, ovule abortion, like fruit abortion in this species, is non-random. Indivisuals regulate fecundity at both the whole fruit and individual seed levels.
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  • 6
    Electronic Resource
    Electronic Resource
    Springer
    Oecologia 72 (1987), S. 291-296 
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Abutilon ; Biomass ; Reproduction ; Light Nutrition
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Summary The response of twenty maternal families of the annual Abutilon theophrasti to two resource gradients, nutrient and light, was investigated. The structure of the population niche for both biomass and reproductive output was found to be quite different on the two gradients. On the light gradient there was a great diversity of responses among the families while on the nutrient gradient the families responded in a similar manner. On both gradients the plants showed a significant genotype/environment interaction. Three strategies for the production of seed variation have been proposed-all offspring are adapted to the same restricted environment, each offspring of an individual is adapted to a particular environment somewhat different thant that of its siblings, and all the offspring are able to grow in a wide range of environments. We found evidence for all three of these strategies amongst the families. The range of responses seen amongst families (of the same species) in this study was as broad as that found in previous studies among species of the old field annual community to which Abutilon theophrasti belongs. This has significant implications to the nature of competitive interactions and to the evolution of differential resource use in plant populations.
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  • 7
    Electronic Resource
    Electronic Resource
    Springer
    Oecologia 69 (1986), S. 454-459 
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Abstract Tree saplings, two groups of three species from each of two deciduous tree communities, were grown in competition at three CO2 concentrations and two light levels. After one growing season, biomass was measured to assess the effect of CO2 on community structure, and nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations were measured for leaves, stems, and roots of all trees. Gas-exchange measurements were made on the same species grown under the same CO2 concentrations. Photosynthetic capacity (rate of photosynthesis at saturating CO2 and light) tended to decline as CO2 concentration increased, but differences were not statistically significant. Stomatal conductance declined significantly as CO2 increased. Nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations generally declined as CO2 increased, but there were some unexpected patterns in roots and stems. CO2 concentration did not significantly affect the overall growth of either community after one season, but the relative biomass of each species changed in a complex way, depending on CO2 light level, and community.
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  • 8
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Summary The responses of Polygonum pensylvanicum L., an early successional annual, and of Polygonum virginianum L., a late successional perennial, were examined along discontinuous gradients of soil moisture, light and nutrient availability. In the case of P. virginianum both individuals grown from seed and individuals grown from rhizomes were examined. The results show that variation in the response of individuals of a species of different age to environmental variation is as great as that found between the two congeneric species of different successional habitats. In general, individuals of the two species were more similar to one another in response to the resource gradients when both were started from seed, than were individuals of P. virginianum grown from seed and from rhizomes. Potential differences in stored reserves (starting capital) between rhizomes and seeds appeared to have little effect upon responses to resource availability. A number of plant characters were found to vary along the gradients in ways that were unique to the character, the gradient, and the age of the individual. These characters included aspects of leaf size, shape, and orientation, as well as whole plant architecture. Many if not all of these characters are likely to have significant effects upon the functioning of plants. The origin of this difference in response to the gradients of individuals of P. virginianum of differing age may be ontogenetic or may reflect differences in genetic composition created by recombination.
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  • 9
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Clonal growth ; Genet architecture ; Leaf demography ; Sexual reproduction ; Solidago
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Summary Members of the genus Solidago are among the most widely studied model systems in plant population biology. A comparative study of Solidago canadensis, S. altissima, and S. gigantea in an experimental garden showed that the three species had different patterns of shoot growth and development, leaf morphology and physiology, and biomass allocation at harvest. These differences were also found in the field. Contrary to some current taxonomic usage, our results show that S. canadensis should ecologically be treated as a separate taxon distinct from S. altissima, and that the latter may be grouped together with S. gigantea. Many of the biological differences between S. canadensis and the other two taxa, such as differential investment into sexual reproduction versus clonal growth, may be explained by differences in genet architecture. These architectures concern high compared to lower within-genet shoot density resulting from differences in rhizome lengths among the taxa (shorter in S. canadensis than in S. altissima and S. gigantea).
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  • 10
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Donal integration ; Herbivory ; Compensation ; Aster ; Solidago
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Summary We compared the growth, phenology and leaf demography of partly defoliated, connected shoots with that of partly defoliated, severed shoots in four old-field perennials (Solidago canadensis, S. altissima, S. gigantea, Aster lanceolatus) with differing genet architectures (rhizome systems), in a common garden and in the field. Our main hypothesis was that defoliation would have fewer negative effects on shoot performance if shoots were connected than if their rhizomes were severed. Since degree of clonal integration is related to differences in genet architecture, our second hypothesis was that the effects of defoliation would be less pronounced in more integrated than in less integrated clones. Removing about 50% of the total leaf area from shoots had different effects depending on plant species, shoot density, and in particular whether rhizome connections between shoots were left intact or severed. In agreement with our prediction, experimentally isolated shoots in the field or in high density clumps in the garden suffered the most from defoliation, while shoots with intact connections or in low density clumps suffered the least. Our second prediction was neither confirmed nor falsified in the present study. Solidago altissima showed overcompensation in response to simulated herbivory in the common garden, i.e. defoliated shoots grew faster and were larger at harvest than their non-defoliated neighbours.
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