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Herbaceous plant species invading natural areas tend to have stronger adaptive root foraging than other naturalized species.

Keser, L.H. and Visser, E.J.W. and Dawson, W. and Song, Y-B. and Yu, F-H. and Fischer, M. and Dong, M. and van Kleunen, M. (2015) 'Herbaceous plant species invading natural areas tend to have stronger adaptive root foraging than other naturalized species.', Frontiers in plant science., 6 . p. 273.

Abstract

Although plastic root-foraging responses are thought to be adaptive, as they may optimize nutrient capture of plants, this has rarely been tested. We investigated whether nutrient-foraging responses are adaptive, and whether they pre-adapt alien species to become natural-area invaders. We grew 12 pairs of congeneric species (i.e., 24 species) native to Europe in heterogeneous and homogeneous nutrient environments, and compared their foraging responses and performance. One species in each pair is a USA natural-area invader, and the other one is not. Within species, individuals with strong foraging responses, measured as plasticity in root diameter and specific root length, had a higher biomass. Among species, the ones with strong foraging responses, measured as plasticity in root length and root biomass, had a higher biomass. Our results therefore suggest that root foraging is an adaptive trait. Invasive species showed significantly stronger root-foraging responses than non-invasive species when measured as root diameter. Biomass accumulation was decreased in the heterogeneous vs. the homogeneous environment. In aboveground, but not belowground and total biomass, this decrease was smaller in invasive than in non-invasive species. Our results show that strong plastic root-foraging responses are adaptive, and suggest that it might aid in pre-adapting species to becoming natural-area invaders.

Item Type:Article
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2015.00273
Publisher statement:Copyright © 2015 Keser, Visser, Dawson, Song, Yu, Fischer, Dong and van Kleunen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Record Created:06 Apr 2016 14:50
Last Modified:07 Apr 2016 16:22

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