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Ontogenetic shifts in interactions among annual plants

  • 1.Interactions among plants are key processes that strongly influence the structure and dynamics of plant populations and communities. However, most empirical studies of plant-plant inter­actions failed to repeatedly measure the plants? response to neighboring individuals and thereby neglected possible changes in interactions through­out the life history of the plants.2.Here, we tested the hypo­thesis that competition between annual species intensifies from early to late life history stages. To test this hypothesis, we sequentially measured interactions at different levels of water stress. 3.For this purpose, we con­ducted neighbor-removal experiments in three study sites located along a climatic gradient in Israel. The two annual species Biscutella didyma and Hymenocarpos circinnatus were used as target plants. They grew with and without neighbors in their natural habitats. Five response variables, according to the consecutive life-history stages, (seedling survival, juvenile biomass, adult survival, number of seeds and final1.Interactions among plants are key processes that strongly influence the structure and dynamics of plant populations and communities. However, most empirical studies of plant-plant inter­actions failed to repeatedly measure the plants? response to neighboring individuals and thereby neglected possible changes in interactions through­out the life history of the plants.2.Here, we tested the hypo­thesis that competition between annual species intensifies from early to late life history stages. To test this hypothesis, we sequentially measured interactions at different levels of water stress. 3.For this purpose, we con­ducted neighbor-removal experiments in three study sites located along a climatic gradient in Israel. The two annual species Biscutella didyma and Hymenocarpos circinnatus were used as target plants. They grew with and without neighbors in their natural habitats. Five response variables, according to the consecutive life-history stages, (seedling survival, juvenile biomass, adult survival, number of seeds and final biomass) were recorded through­out the whole growing season. 4.The results suggest that direction and inten­sity of inter­actions varied consider­ably between environ­ments and life stages. On average, growth-related response variables indicated higher competition intensity at the productive end of the climatic gradient, while survival indicated either facilitation at the dry end or no trend along the gradient. 5.Considering the temporal aspect, moderate facili­tation short after germi­nation shifted to strong compe­tition at the end of the growing season. 6.Our results highlight that the outcome of experi­mental studies on plant-plant inter­actions may not only depend on the environ­mental productivity but even more on the life stage at which a target plant is found.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Katja Schiffers, Katja Tielbörger
URL:http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2745.2006.01097.x/pdf
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2745.2006.01097.x
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2006
Year of Completion:2006
Release Date:2017/03/24
Source:Journal of Ecology. - 94 (2006), 2, S. 336 - 341
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Biochemie und Biologie
Peer Review:Referiert