Journal Article

Effects of positive interactions, size symmetry of competition and abiotic stress on self-thinning in simulated plant populations

Cheng-Jin Chu, Jacob Weiner, Fernando T. Maestre, You-Shi Wang, Charles Morris, Sa Xiao, Jian-Li Yuan, Guo-Zhen Du and Gang Wang

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 106, issue 4, pages 647-652
Published in print October 2010 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online July 2010 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcq145
Effects of positive interactions, size symmetry of competition and abiotic stress on self-thinning in simulated plant populations

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

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Background and Aims

Competition drives self-thinning (density-dependent mortality) in crowded plant populations. Facilitative interactions have been shown to affect many processes in plant populations and communities, but their effects on self-thinning trajectories have not been investigated.

Methods

Using an individual-based ‘zone-of-influence’ model, we studied the potential effects of the size symmetry of competition, abiotic stress and facilitation on self-thinning trajectories in plant monocultures. In the model, abiotic stress reduced the growth of all individuals and facilitation ameliorated the effects of stress on interacting individuals.

Key Results

Abiotic stress made the log biomass – log density relationship during self-thinning steeper, but this effect was reduced by positive interactions among individuals. Size-asymmetric competition also influenced the self-thinning slope.

Conclusions

Although competition drives self-thinning, its course can be affected by abiotic stress, facilitation and competitive symmetry.

Keywords: Density-dependent mortality; positive interactions; self-thinning; size symmetry competition; abiotic stress; zone of influence model; ZOI

Journal Article.  2839 words.  Illustrated.

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

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