Faculty Publications

Title

Clonal plant allocation to daughter ramets is a simple function of parent size across species and nutrient levels

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Clonal growth, Clonal plants, Fertilization, Reproductive cost, Resource allocation, Translocation

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Plant Ecology

Volume

218

Issue

11-12

First Page

1299

Last Page

1311

Abstract

The evolution of clonal growth is a widespread phenomenon among plant species, characterized by the production of genetically identical clonal fragments (ramets) via rhizomes or stolons that form an interconnected clonal organism (genet). Clonal plant species are known to differ in their investment into ramet production, and exhibit considerable variation in ramet morphology both within and among species. While patterns of resource allocation are thought to be linked to a number of plant characteristics, many analyses are limited by uncertainty in how clonal plants determine the morphology and resources allocated to new ramets. In this study, we attempted to discern what aspects of parent ramets best predicted resource allocation to new daughter ramets, and the relationship between resource allocation and daughter ramet rhizome morphology. We grew two sedge species, Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani and Eleocharis elliptica, in a greenhouse under two levels of fertilizer addition. By harvesting daughter ramets that had initiated stem production, yet remained aphotosynthetic, we were able to isolate parental investment into non-independent daughter ramets at a point where daughter ramet spacer length became fixed. Our results indicate that parent ramets allocated a non-linear proportion of parent rhizome biomass to the production of daughter ramets. Moreover, this relationship was unaffected by environmental nutrient availability. Daughter ramet biomass, in turn, was strongly correlated with daughter ramet spacer length. These observations shed light on key processes governing clonal growth in plants, and their potential application in unifying allocational and morphological perspectives to explore the fitness implications of variability in clonal growth.

Original Publication Date

12-1-2017

DOI of published version

10.1007/s11258-017-0769-z

Repository

UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa

Language

en

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