Leaf area ratio and net assimilation rate of 24 wild species differing in RGR

Department of Plant Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Oecologia (Impact Factor: 3.09). 06/1990; 83(4):553-559. DOI: 10.1007/BF00317209

ABSTRACT Which factors cause fast-growing plant species to achieve a higher relative growth rate than slow-growing ones? To answer this question 24 wild species were grown from seed in a growth chamber under conditions of optimal nutrient supply and a growth analysis was carried out. Mean relative growth rate, corrected for possible ontogenetic drift, ranged from 113 to 356 mg g–1 day–1. Net assimilation rate, the increase in plant dry weight per unit leaf area and unit time, varied two-fold between species but no correlation with relative growth rate was found. The correlation between leaf area ratio, the ratio between total leaf area and total plant weight, and relative growth rate was very high. This positive correlation was mainly due to the specific leaf area, the ratio between leaf area and leaf weight, and to a lesser extent caused by the leaf weight ratio, the fraction of plant biomass allocated to the leaves. Differences in relative growth rate under conditions of optimum nutrient supply were correlated with the soil fertility in the natural habitat of these species. It is postulated that natural selection in a nutrient-rich environment has favoured species with a high specific leaf area and a high leaf weight ratio, and consequently a high leaf area ratio, whereas selection in nutrient-poor habitats has led to species with an inherently low specific leaf area and a higher fraction of root mass, and thus a low leaf area ratio.

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Available from: Hendrik Poorter, Sep 25, 2015
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    • "This may suggest that these traits have a better potential to predict discharge species occurrence, especially since the p-value of these models suggested a trend (p=0.067 for RP and p=0.095 for RGR). It should be noted though that RGR is also related to nutrient availability (Grime and Hunt, 1975, Poorter and Remkes, 1990, Lambers and Poorter, 1992) and does not only represent the iron tolerance of a species Together, our study shows that, in the non-coastal zone of the Netherlands and for the current sets of traits studied, the amount of available nutrients and phosphorus are important drivers distinguishing characteristic groundwater discharge plant communities from other wet communities. Although the significance of these abiotic conditions at groundwater discharge sites is not new, this is the first time that an effect for the associated traits of discharge vs. recharge species is shown. "
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    ABSTRACT: Groundwater discharge sites harbor characteristic and often rare plant communities which differ substantially from groundwater recharge sites. It is not known which abiotic conditions at these sites drive the differences in community composition. A trait-based approach, that relates species traits to abiotic conditions, may provide insight in this relationship and improve conservation management of these characteristic communities. We used this approach to identify (i) dominant abiotic conditions that shape plant communities at discharge sites and to (ii) identify characteristic traits associated with these abiotic conditions. First, we performed a (qualitative) literature survey to relate plant traits to various abiotic conditions at discharge sites. Secondly, we performed a meta-analysis to quantitatively test the trait selection at discharge sites. For the meta-analysis we compiled a species discharge preference database (n = 170), based on literature and field data. We performed linear regression to relate traits to species discharge preference. Only five out of the eleven traits tested (low leaf phosphorus content, high leaf N:P, low rate of clonal reproduction, low maximum height and high seed mass) were significantly related to discharge preference, while the explained variance was low (R2 < 0.09). Our results suggest that (i) despite the inclusion of traits specifically related to prevailing local environmental conditions, beyond commonly applied traits, hardly any differences were revealed. This indicates a need for more comprehensive eco-physiological understanding (and information on the selection of combinations of traits), and ii) a trait-based approach may not be highly distinctive in environments differing in only a few specific characteristics. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Ecohydrology 06/2015; DOI:10.1002/eco.1655 · 2.43 Impact Factor
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    • "NAR reflects the balance between photosynthetic carbon gain and respiratory carbon loss at a whole plant level. LAR is the product of specific leaf area (SLA, m 2 leaf area kg À1 leaf mass) and leaf mass ratio (LMR, g leaf mass g À1 plant mass), enabling a quantitative means of integrating effects of variation in allocation and leaf area expansion on growth (Poorter and Remkes, 1990). Both NAR and LAR are important components of the growth responses of halophytes to salinity, but most studies have found NAR to be the more important factor for variation within species (Ball, 1996). "
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    ABSTRACT: Halophytic eudicots are characterized by enhanced growth under saline conditions. This study combines physiological and anatomical analyses to identify processes underlying growth responses of the mangrove Avicennia marina to salinities ranging from fresh- to seawater conditions. Following pre-exhaustion of cotyledonary reserves under optimal conditions (i.e. 50 % seawater), seedlings of A. marina were grown hydroponically in dilutions of seawater amended with nutrients. Whole-plant growth characteristics were analysed in relation to dry mass accumulation and its allocation to different plant parts. Gas exchange characteristics and stable carbon isotopic composition of leaves were measured to evaluate water use in relation to carbon gain. Stem and leaf hydraulic anatomy were measured in relation to plant water use and growth. Avicennia marina seedlings failed to grow in 0-5 % seawater, whereas maximal growth occurred in 50-75 % seawater. Relative growth rates were affected by changes in leaf area ratio (LAR) and net assimilation rate (NAR) along the salinity gradient, with NAR generally being more important. Gas exchange characteristics followed the same trends as plant growth, with assimilation rates and stomatal conductance being greatest in leaves grown in 50-75 % seawater. However, water use efficiency was maintained nearly constant across all salinities, consistent with carbon isotopic signatures. Anatomical studies revealed variation in rates of development and composition of hydraulic tissues that were consistent with salinity-dependent patterns in water use and growth, including a structural explanation for low stomatal conductance and growth under low salinity. The results identified stem and leaf transport systems as central to understanding the integrated growth responses to variation in salinity from fresh- to seawater conditions. Avicennia marina was revealed as an obligate halophyte, requiring saline conditions for development of the transport systems needed to sustain water use and carbon gain. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:
    Annals of Botany 01/2015; 115(3). DOI:10.1093/aob/mcu257 · 3.65 Impact Factor
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    • "Intermediary sensitivity was found for P. major and C. fontanum. Plantago major plants also have large planophile leaves, but leaves are thick and leathery, resulting in a low specific leaf area (Poorter & Remkes, 1990); this may hamper conductive heat transfer and tissue heating above the lethal temperature. Cerastium fontanum plants have poorly protected meristems, but leaves are small and thick which make them difficult to heat. "
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    ABSTRACT: Non-chemical weed control on pavements needs more frequently repeated treatments than the application of glyphosate and often uses large amounts of fuel. To obtain effective hot water control with minimum energy consumption, an in-depth study of efficacy-influencing factors was performed. Three dose–response pot experiments were conducted outdoors to investigate the impact of growth stage (39, 60 and 81 day old), water temperature (78, 88 and 98°C), time of the day (2, 7 and 12 h after sunrise) and treatment interval (2, 3, 4 and 6 week intervals) on hot water sensitivity of seven weed species that are hard to control on pavements. Responses to hot water were quantified by weed coverage and total dry biomass. In general, hot water sensitivity was highest for species with large planophile leaves and lowest for grasses with small erectophile leaves. Most species were twofold to sixfold more sensitive to water at 98°C than at 78 and 88°C, particularly when treated at early growth stages. Among treatment intervals, treating at 3-week intervals was up to twofold more effective and energy efficient than treating at 6-week intervals. Sensitivity was about twofold lower in the morning than in the afternoon. For effective control of weeds, while using less fuel, it is recommended to apply hot water in the late afternoon, to operate at high water temperature (98°C) and to treat plants as young as possible at 3-week intervals.
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