Document Detail

Adjustment to the light environment in small-statured forbs as a strategy for complementary resource use in mixtures of grassland species.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21385779     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The biological mechanisms of niche complementarity allowing for a stable coexistence of a large number of species in a plant community are still poorly understood. This study investigated how small-statured forbs use environmental niches in light and CO(2) to explain their persistence in diverse temperate grasslands.
METHODS: Light and CO(2) profiles and the corresponding leaf characteristics of seven small-statured forbs were measured in monocultures and a multi-species mixture within a biodiversity experiment (Jena Experiment) to assess their adjustment to growth conditions in the canopy.
KEY RESULTS: Environmental conditions near the ground varied throughout the season with a substantial CO(2) enrichment (>70 µmol mol(-1) at 2 cm, >20 µmol mol(-1) at 10 cm above soil surface) and a decrease in light transmittance (to <5 % deep in the canopy) with large standing biomass (>500 g d. wt m(-2)) in the multi-species assemblage. Leaf morphology, biochemistry and physiology of small-statured forbs adjusted to low light in the mixture compared with the monocultures. However, the net carbon assimilation balance during the period of low light only compensated the costs of maintenance respiration, while CO(2) enrichment near the ground did not allow for additional carbon gain. Close correlations of leaf mass per area with changes in light availability suggested that small-statured forbs are capable of adjusting to exploit seasonal niches with better light supply for growth and to maintain the carbon metabolism for survival if light transmittance is substantially reduced in multi-species assemblages.
CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that adjustment to a highly dynamic light environment is most important for spatial and seasonal niche separation of small-statured forb species in regularly mown, species-rich grasslands. The utilization of short-period CO(2) enrichment developing in dense vegetation close to the ground hardly improves their carbon balance and contributes little to species segregation along environmental niche axes.
Christiane Roscher; Werner L Kutsch; Olaf Kolle; Waldemar Ziegler; Ernst-Detlef Schulze
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2011-03-07
Journal Detail:
Title:  Annals of botany     Volume:  107     ISSN:  1095-8290     ISO Abbreviation:  Ann. Bot.     Publication Date:  2011 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-04-22     Completed Date:  2011-08-03     Revised Date:  2013-06-30    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0372347     Medline TA:  Ann Bot     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  965-79     Citation Subset:  IM    
UFZ, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Department of Community Ecology, Theodor-Lieser-Strasse 4, Halle, Germany.
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MeSH Terms
Adaptation, Physiological*
Carbon Dioxide / analysis,  metabolism
Plant Leaves / metabolism,  physiology
Plants / metabolism*
Poaceae / physiology*,  radiation effects
Population Dynamics
Steam / analysis
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Steam; 124-38-9/Carbon Dioxide

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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