Faculty Publications

Allocation To Clonal Growth: Critical Questions And Protocols To Answer Them

Document Type



Allometry, Biomass allocation, Clonal architecture, Clonal protocols

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics




For clonal plants, spatial spread within a site is primarily determined by production of new ramets, which suggests that allocation to this function is a key component of the population and community dynamics of clonal plant species. However, surprisingly few studies, either theoretical or empirical, quantify the amount of resources that is or should be allocated to new daughters. Instead, the focus of clonal plant research has been on two unique features of clonal growth: architecture of new ramet deployment and the degree of physiological integration among ramets. We argue that more attention should be paid to resource allocation to new ramets as an important clonal trait and present an operational definition of allocation to clonal growth on a ramet level. Specifically, we propose that clonal allocation be measured as the biomass of a new spacer from its point of origin on an old stem/node plus biomass of a new aphotosynthetic stem arising from the terminal node of the new spacer. Using this definition, we develop a set of important questions that future studies in clonal allocation should address. We then describe protocols to answer these questions and a developing international network to collect data using these protocols.


Department of Biology

Original Publication Date


DOI of published version



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