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

Keser, Lidewij; Visser, Eric J.W.; Dawson, Wayne; Song, Yao-Bin; Yu, Fei-Hai; Fischer, Markus; Dong, Ming; van Kleunen, Mark (2015). Herbaceous plant species invading natural areas tend to have stronger adaptive root foraging than other naturalized species. Frontiers in Plant Science, 6(273) Frontiers 10.3389/fpls.2015.00273

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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:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Plant Ecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Keser, Lidewij; Dawson, Wayne; Fischer, Markus and van Kleunen, Mark

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

1664-462X

Publisher:

Frontiers

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

19 May 2015 16:21

Last Modified:

19 May 2015 16:21

Publisher DOI:

10.3389/fpls.2015.00273

Uncontrolled Keywords:

invasion ecology, multi-species comparison, nutrient heterogeneity, phenotypic plasticity, pre-adaptation, root morphology

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.68491

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/68491

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