Intensity of intra- and interspecific competition in coexisting shortgrassspecies

Citation
Mr. Aguiar et al., Intensity of intra- and interspecific competition in coexisting shortgrassspecies, J ECOLOGY, 89(1), 2001, pp. 40-47
Citations number
35
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Environment/Ecology
Journal title
JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY
ISSN journal
0022-0477 → ACNP
Volume
89
Issue
1
Year of publication
2001
Pages
40 - 47
Database
ISI
SICI code
0022-0477(200102)89:1<40:IOIAIC>2.0.ZU;2-N
Abstract
1 Bouteloua gracilis and Buchloe dactyloides are dominant species in the sh ortgrass steppe. Previous studies have suggested that these species have si milar resource requirements and. as there is no temporal segregation in gro wth, we suggest that competition for below-ground resources should be inten se. Classical competition theory predicts that, under stable conditions. co existence of species with similar requirements can occur if intraspecific c ompetition is more intense than interspecific competition. We therefore com pared the competitive abilities of the two species under both inter- and in traspecific conditions, another determinant of coexistence in plant communi ties. 2 A 3-year experiment was conducted in a small homogeneous area and a separ ate 2-year experiment was conducted in a larger area. In both experiments, a hexagonal planting design was used to achieve all possible combinations o f species and to control plant size and neighbourhood asymmetries at the st art of the experiment. Half the target plants were grown within steel cylin ders to reduce below-ground competition. 3 We found similar results in the two experiments. Plant biomass and seed p roduction were always higher in plants growing with reduced competition, al though seed production was quite variable. Relative competition intensity d id not differ between intraspecific and interspecific competition. 4 Our results suggest that competition between these coexisting shortgrasse s is intense, but do not support the prediction of a difference between int ra- and interspecific competition. We discuss alternative explanations.