Document Detail

Soil nutrients trump intraspecific effects on understory plant communities.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23851987     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Understanding the links between intraspecific genetic variation and patterns of diversity in associated communities has been the primary focus of community genetics or 'genes-to-ecosystem' research in ecology. While other ecological factors, such as the abiotic environment, have well-documented influences on communities, the relative contributions of genetic variation versus the environment to species interactions remains poorly explored. In this study, we use a common garden experiment to study a coastal dune plant community dominated by the shrub, Baccharis pilularis, which displays a morphological dimorphism in plant architecture. We found the differences in the understory plant community between erect and prostrate morphs of Baccharis to be statistically significant, but small relative to the impacts of nutrient additions (NPK and C additions), for the richness, cover, and biomass of the understory plant community. There were no significant interactions between Baccharis morphology and nutrient-addition treatments, suggesting the influence of nutrient addition was consistent between erect and prostrate morphs. Moreover, we found no difference in overall plant community composition between Baccharis morphs, while NPK additions led to shifts in understory community composition compared to unfertilized shrubs. In sum, our results indicate that nutrients are the more important factor governing understory plant community structure in a coastal dunes ecosystem followed by intraspecific variation in dominant shrub architecture. Our results address a growing call to understand the extended consequences of intraspecific variation across heterogeneous environments in terrestrial ecosystems.
Gregory M Crutsinger; Benjamin E Carter; Jennifer A Rudgers
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2013-7-13
Journal Detail:
Title:  Oecologia     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1432-1939     ISO Abbreviation:  Oecologia     Publication Date:  2013 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-7-15     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0150372     Medline TA:  Oecologia     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, 4200-6270 University Blvd, Vancouver, BC, V6T1Z4, Canada,
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