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  • Competitive interactions  (1)
  • Stable carbon isotope discrimination  (1)
  • 1
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Ecological genetics ; Phenotypic plasticity ; Plant competition ; Quercus douglasii ; Stable carbon isotope discrimination
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Abstract Blue oak (Quercus douglasii) is a deciduous tree species endemic to California that currently exhibits poor seedling survival to sapling age classes. We used common garden techniques to examine how genetic variation at regional and local scales affected phenotypic expression in traits affecting oak seedling growth and survival. Between-population variation was examined for seedlings grown from acorns collected from a northern, mesic population and a southern, xeric population. Within-population variation was examined by comparing seedlings from different maternal families within the mesic population. Acorns were planted into neighborhoods of an annual dicot (Erodium botrys), an annual grass (Bromus diandrus), and a perennial bunchgrass (Nassella pulchra). By varying the species composition of herbaceous neighborhoods into which acorns were planted, the interactive effects of competition and acorn germplasm source on phenotypic expression could also be examined. Potential maternal effects, expressed as variation in acorn size, were assessed by weighing each acorn before planting. Probability of seedling emergence increased significantly with acorn size in the xeric population but not in the mesic population. Similarly, the effect of acorn size on seedling leaf area, stem weight, and root weight was also population-dependent. At a within-population level, acorn size effects on seedling traits varied significantly among maternal families. In addition to acorn size effects, rates of oak seedling emergence were also dependent on an interaction of population source and competitive environment. Interactions between maternal family and competitive environment in the expression of seedling leaf characters suggest the possibility of genetic variation for plasticity in traits such as specific leaf area. Using carbon isotope discrimination (Δ) as an index of relative water-use efficiency (WUE), higher water use efficiency was indicated for oak seedlings grown in the annual plant neighborhoods compared to seedlings grown in the bunchgrass neighborhood. This trend may represent an adaptive plastic response because, compared to the bunchgrass neighborhood, soil water depletion was more rapid within annual plant neighborhoods.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 2
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Soil nitrogen competition ; Competitive interactions ; Oak savannas ; Annual and perennial grasses ; Quercus
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Summary The spatial overlap of woody plant root systems and that of annual or perennial grasses promotes competition for soil-derived resources. In this study we examined competition for soil nitrogen between blue oak seedlings and either the annual grassBromus mollis or the perennial grassStipa pulchra under controlled outdoor conditions. Short-term nitrogen competition was quantified by injecting15N at 30 cm depth in a plane horizontal to oak seedling roots and that of their neighbors, and calculating15N uptake rates, pool sizes and15N allocation patterns 24 h after labelling. Simultaneously, integrative nitrogen competition was quantified by examining total nitrogen capture, total nitrogen pools and total nitrogen allocation.Stipa neighbors reduced inorganic soil nitrogen content to a greater extent than didBromus plants. Blue oak seedlings responded to lower soil nitrogen content by allocating lower amounts of nitrogen per unit of biomass producing higher root length densities and reducing the nitrogen content of root tissue. In addition, blue oak seedlings growing with the perennial grass exhibited greater rates of15N uptake, on a root mass basis, compensating for higher soil nitrogen competition inStipa neighborhoods. Our findings suggest that while oak seedlings have lower rates of nitrogen capture than herbaceous neighbors, oak seedlings exhibit significant changes in nitrogen allocation and nitrogen uptake rates which may offset the competitive effect annual or perennial grasses have on soil nitrogen content.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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