Effects of clonal integration and light availability on the growth and physiology of two invasive herbs

Article


Xu, Cheng-Yuan, Schooler, Shon S. and van Klinken, Rieks D.. 2010. "Effects of clonal integration and light availability on the growth and physiology of two invasive herbs." Journal of Ecology. 98 (4), pp. 833-844. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2745.2010.01668.x
Article Title

Effects of clonal integration and light availability on the growth and physiology of two invasive herbs

ERA Journal ID3272
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsXu, Cheng-Yuan (Author), Schooler, Shon S. (Author) and van Klinken, Rieks D. (Author)
Journal TitleJournal of Ecology
Journal Citation98 (4), pp. 833-844
Number of Pages12
Year2010
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
Place of PublicationOxford, United Kingdom
ISSN0022-0477
1365-2745
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2745.2010.01668.x
Abstract

Clonal plants benefit from the ability to translocate resources among interconnected ramets to colonize heterogeneous habitats. Clonal integration affects the resource level and morphological traits of ramets, and thus may influence their physiology and general performance. Although leaf gas exchange and its associated physiological adjustments are key traits to assess plant fitness, the
effect of clonal integration on these functional traits is insufficiently understood.

2. In a glasshouse experiment, we addressed how clonal integration affects gas exchange properties, leaf characters and growth of ramets in two invasive plants, Alternanthera philoxeroides and Phyla canescens, under full sun and 85%shade. We also used stable-isotope labelling to assess the maternal subsidy to daughter ramets.

3. Similar effects of connection were observed in both species for most gas exchange parameters and leaf characters. Clonal integration did not affect photosynthetic capacity and respiratory rates of ramets.When grown in shade, ramets connected with an unshaded mother plant displayed higher area-based leaf nitrogen and chlorophyll content than severed ramets, but the additional nitrogen and chlorophyll was not translated to increased photosynthetic capability. Overall, severed ramets displayed significant light response for leaf nitrogen (area-based), photosynthetic nitrogen use efficiency, chlorophyll to nitrogen ratio, and nitrogen stable-isotope signature, but the light response was eliminated by clonal integration in connected ramets.

4. Both species displayed substantial maternal carbohydrate subsidy that benefited the growth of daughter ramets, but species-specific patterns were observed in the growth of daughter ramets and the amount of subsidy. The amount of subsidy was independent of ramet growth light levels for
P. canescens, but shaded, connected ramets of A. philoxeroides received more subsidy than unshaded controls, facilitating a larger growth improvement relative to severed counterparts than P. canescens.

5. Synthesis. We observed increased leaf nitrogen and chlorophyll in shaded, connected ramets of two clonal invasive plants. Clonal integration may facilitate nitrogen assimilation and allow preacclimation to high-light conditions for shaded, connected ramets, thus promoting the opportunistic expansion of these invaders on site scale. The species-specific maternal subsidy pattern demonstrated
that clonal plants possess different strategies to subsidize ramets under light-limited conditions.

Keywordsalternanthera philoxeroides; biological invasion; chlorophyll; nitrogen; photosynthesis; photosynthetic acclimation; phyla canescens; physiological integration; respiration; translocation
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020300199. Agricultural biotechnology not elsewhere classified
300409. Crop and pasture protection (incl. pests, diseases and weeds)
310303. Ecological physiology
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Byline AffiliationsCommonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia
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