Journal Article

Clonal Integration Affects Growth, Photosynthetic Efficiency and Biomass Allocation, but not the Competitive Ability, of the Alien Invasive <i>Alternanthera philoxeroides</i> under Severe Stress

Ning Wang, Fei-Hai Yu, Ping-Xing Li, Wei-Ming He, Feng-Hong Liu, Ji-Ming Liu and Ming Dong

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 101, issue 5, pages 671-678
Published in print April 2008 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online February 2008 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcn005
Clonal Integration Affects Growth, Photosynthetic Efficiency and Biomass Allocation, but not the Competitive Ability, of the Alien Invasive Alternanthera philoxeroides under Severe Stress

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Background and Aims

Many notorious alien invasive plants are clonal, but little is known about some roles and aspects of clonal integration. Here, the hypothesis is tested that clonal integration affects growth, photosynthetic efficiency, biomass allocation and competitive ability of the exotic invasive weed Alternanthera philoxeroides (Amaranthaceae).

Methods

The apical parts of Alternanthera were grown either with or without the lawn grass Schedonorus phoenix (tall fescue) and their stolon connections to the basal parts grown without competitors were either severed or left intact.

Key Results

Competition greatly reduced the maximum quantum yield of photosystem II (Fv/Fm) and growth (biomass, number of ramets and leaves, total stolon length and total leaf area) of the apical Alternanthera, but not the biomass of S. phoenix. Stolon connections significantly increased Fv/Fm and growth of Alternanthera. However, such effects on growth were smaller with than without competition and stolon connections did not alter the relative neighbour effect of Alternanthera. Stolon connections increased Alternanthera's biomass allocation to roots without competition, but decreased it with competition.

Conclusions

Clonal integration contributed little to Alternanthera's competitive ability, but was very important for Alternanthera to explore open space. The results suggest that the invasiveness of Alternanthera may be closely related to clonal integration.

Keywords: Alien species; alligator weed; Alternanthera philoxeroides; chlorophyll fluorescence; clonal invasive plants; competition; physiological integration; Schedonorus phoenix

Journal Article.  5246 words.  Illustrated.

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

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