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  • N-source preference in plants (Viewpoint)

    N-source preference in plants (Viewpoint)

    Plants can utilize two major forms of inorganic nitrogen, nitrate (NO3–) and ammonium (NH­4+), with some species appearing to ‘prefer’ one form over another, under certain conditions. Soil-N speciation has been shown to be an important determinant of species distribution, but no ecophysiologically realistic, mathematically sound model has yet emerged to describe and predict this […] More

  • Leaf display by conifer and angiosperm seedlings

    Leaf display by conifer and angiosperm seedlings

    The contemporary relegation of conifers mainly to cold or infertile sites has been ascribed to low competitive ability. Lusk et al. use 3-D modelling of plant architecture and structural equation modelling to compare self-shading and light interception potential of seedlings of six conifers and 12 angiosperm trees from temperate rainforests, and show that seedlings of conifers […] More

  • Soil heterogeneity and intraspecific competition

    Soil heterogeneity and intraspecific competition

    Spatial heterogeneity in nutrients may increase the relative competitive ability of species that are more able to concentrate their roots where nutrient levels are high; if so, heterogeneity should have little effect on intraspecific competition when no genotypic differences exist between individuals. Zhou et al. grow a clonal invasive herb, Alternanthera philoxeroides (Amaranthaceae), at different plant […] More

  • Leaf traits, growth allometry and competition

    Leaf traits, growth allometry and competition

    The ability to simulate plant competition accurately is essential for plant functional-type (PFT)-based models used in climate-change studies. Yu and Gao investigate competition between oak (Quercus liaotungensis) and birch/poplar (Betula platyphylla/Populus davidiana) in a temperate forest using a PFT-based ecosystem model and determine that higher assimilation rates of birch/popular lead to its dominance during early […] More

  • Root–shoot responses during competition

    Root–shoot responses during competition

    Root–shoot responses during competition Plant competition studies are restricted by the difficulty of quantifying root systems of competitors. Robinson et al. apply a new approach in which the root systems are estimated from either the shoot weights or combined root weights of competitors, or via scaling exponents and allometric coefficients of log-regressions of root weight […] More

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