Journal Article

Nurse Plants vs. Nurse Objects: Effects of Woody Plants and Rocky Cavities on the Recruitment of the <i>Pilosocereus leucocephalus</i> Columnar Cactus

Miguel Angel Munguía-Rosas and Vinicio J. Sosa

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 101, issue 1, pages 175-185
Published in print January 2008 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online December 2007 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcm302
Nurse Plants vs. Nurse Objects: Effects of Woody Plants and Rocky Cavities on the Recruitment of the Pilosocereus leucocephalus Columnar Cactus

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

Background and Aims

Most studies on cactus recruitment have focused on the role of woody plants as seedling facilitators. Although the spatial association of cacti with objects had been described, the mechanisms underlying this association remain unknown. The aims of this study were to identify which mechanisms facilitate the establishment of a columnar cactus under the shade and protection of objects and to compare these mechanisms with those involved in plant–plant facilitation.

Methods

Three split-split-plot field experiments were conducted to compare the effects of two microhabitats (inside rocky cavities and beneath plant canopies) on seed removal, germination, seedling survivorship and dry weight. Flat, open spaces were used as the control. For each microhabitat, the effect of seed or seedling protection and substrate limitation were explored; aboveground microclimate and some soil properties were also characterized.

Key Results

The permanence of superficial seeds was greater inside rocky cavities than beneath woody plant canopies or on flat, open areas. Germination was similar in cavities and beneath plant canopies, but significantly higher than on flat, open areas. Seedling survivorship was greater beneath plant canopies than inside cavities or on flat, open spaces.

Conclusions

The mechanisms of plant facilitation are different from those of object facilitation. There are seed–seedling conflicts involved in the recruitment of P. leucocephalus: nurse plants favour mainly seedling survivorship by providing a suitable microenvironment, while nurse objects mainly favour seed permanence, by protecting them from predators.

Keywords: Columnar cactus; facilitation; nurse object; nurse plant; Pilosocereus leucocephalus; plant recruitment; seed–seedling conflicts; rocky cavities

Journal Article.  8153 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.