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Life History Strategies in Linnaea borealis

by Niva, Mikael

Abstract (Summary)
About 70% of the plant species in the temperate zone are characterised by clonal growth, clonal species are also in majority in the Arctic and Subarctic where they affect the structure and composition of the vegetation. It is therefore of great importance to increase our knowledge about clonal plants and their growth and life histories. I have investigated how ramets of the stoloniferous plant Linnaea borealis are affected by the naturally occurring variation in environmental factors, such as: light, nutrient and water availability. Moreover, I examined the seed set and how supplemental hand pollination affects seed set in L. borealis, and also investigated the significance of the apical meristem for shoot population fitness. All studies were performed under field conditions in northern Sweden in a Subarctic environment and most are experimental.The results show that nutrient resorption from senescing leaves is not significantly affecting the growth and nutrient pools of the ramet. This implies that the growth of L. borealis ramets is not governed by micro-site resource availability. However, removal of light competition resulted in increased branching and number of lateral meristems produced, reduced growth, and decreased root:shoot ratio on a per ramet basis. Thus, ramets of L. borealis can efficiently exploit favourable light patches through plastic growth. Apical dominance exerts a significant effect on shoot population fitness and can be lost through rodent grazing. However, loss of apical dominance is dependent on the timing of grazing, if the apical meristem is removed early in the autumn the ramet can repair the loss until the next summer. If grazing occur during spring the dry weight and leaf area production is affected negatively. Seed production in L. borealis in the Abisko area varies between years and sites, and was unaffected by supplemental hand pollination treatment, implying that there is no lack of pollinator activity.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Uppsala universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Biology; Biology; Linnaea borealis; apex removal; apical dominance; clonal plant; hand pollination; matrix modelling; plant foraging; resorption efficiency; resorption proficiency; resource heterogeneity; shoot dynamics; Biologi; ekologisk botanik; Ecological Botany

ISBN:91-554-5754-1

Date of Publication:01/01/2003

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