A test of the compensatory continuum: fertilization increases and below-ground competition decreases the grazing tolerance of tall wormseed mustard (Erysimum strictum)

Citation
Ap. Huhta et al., A test of the compensatory continuum: fertilization increases and below-ground competition decreases the grazing tolerance of tall wormseed mustard (Erysimum strictum), EVOL ECOL, 14(4-6), 2000, pp. 353-372
Citations number
72
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Environment/Ecology
Journal title
EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY
ISSN journal
0269-7653 → ACNP
Volume
14
Issue
4-6
Year of publication
2000
Pages
353 - 372
Database
ISI
SICI code
0269-7653(2000)14:4-6<353:ATOTCC>2.0.ZU;2-L
Abstract
Contrary to the general expectation, the compensatory continuum hypothesis proposes that grazing may not always affect plant performance adversely. In stead, the effects may vary from negative (undercompensation) to positive ( overcompensation), depending on the local availability of resources and the intensity of competition experienced by individual plants. We tested this hypothesis in a common garden experiment by growing tall wormseed mustard, Erysimum strictum, under a factorial design involving simulated grazing (0, 10, or 50% of the main stem clipped), supplemental fertilization and below -ground competition. The results supported the hypothesis. On an average, f ertilization increased and competition decreased plant performance. Overcom pensation was only observed among the fertilized plants growing free of com petition. Simulated grazing increased seed yield 1.6 (10% clipping) and 1.4 times (50% clipping) as compared to unclipped plants when the plants were grown with fertilization and without competition. In contrast, clipping did not significantly increase seed yield in the plants grown without fertiliz ation and/or with competition. The breakage of apical dominance provides a proximate mechanism of these regrowth responses. This is consistent with th e fact that most plants (85%) had an unbranched shoot architecture in our s tudy population. However, it is not clear why E. strictum has a relatively unbranched architecture in natural populations. We briefly discuss the alte rnative ecological factors - competition for light, adaptation to herbivory and optimal timing of flowering as a bet-hedging strategy in monocarpic pl ants - which might maintain unbranched architecture in this species.