University of Oulu

Plant adaptive strategies in relation to variable resource availability, soil microbial processes and ecosystem development

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Author: Aikio, Sami1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Oulu : University of Oulu, 2000
Publish Date: 2000-06-05
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Science, University of Oulu, for public discussion in Kuusamonsali (Auditorium YB 210), Linnanmaa, on June 16th, 2000, at 12 noon.
Reviewer: Professor Per Lundberg
Docent Timo Vuorisalo


Plants have evolved various adaptive strategies for balancing the benefits and costs of having a high affinity for resources, plasticity of growth allocation and mycorrhizal symbiosis. The relative growth rates of mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal plants were modelled for stable and variable nutrient availability. Mycorrhizal plants had higher growth rates at low and non-mycorrhizal plants at high nutrient availability. Variation in nutrient availability reduced the growth rate of mycorrhizal plants due to a high affinity for nutrients. However, mycorrhizal plants may be able to buffer against external fluctuations and therefore experience less environmental variation than non-mycorrhizal plants. Non-mycorrhizal plants may even benefit from variation.

The optimal allocation of growth between shoot and roots depends on the availability of energy and nutrients. The optimisation model predicted that the requirement for phenotypic plasticity of shoot/root allocation is greatest in environments with low resource availability. Plants with a high affinity for resources required more plasticity in order to tolerate variation than plants with a low affinity. The model predicted a trade-off between the ability to deplete resources and the ability to tolerate resource fluctuations.

Changes in the availability and ratio of resources lead to changes in the structure and composition of vegetation during primary succession. The field study of the forested phases of the land uplift island Hailuoto showed a successional change in the vegetation from the dominance of bryophytes and deciduous dwarf shrubs to dominance by lichens and evergreen dwarf shrubs. The humus layer became thinner and the availability of nutrients declined, while the C/N ratio of soil organic matter increased during succession indicating a decline in the quality of organic matter. The increased soil respiration rate indicates a successional increase in the energetic costs of decomposing organic matter.

Nutrients mediate both direct and indirect trophic interactions. Indirect interactions of nutrient cycling are not explicit in continuous time models. A transformation to a discrete time model was shown to make the indirect interactions explicit as transition probabilities and allowed their dynamic contribution to be evaluated with an elasticity analysis. The importance of indirect interactions was greater in tundra than temperate forest and increased with the rate of nutrient cycling.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. A, Scientiae rerum naturalium
ISSN: 0355-3191
ISSN-E: 1796-220X
ISSN-L: 0355-3191
ISBN: 951-42-5682-4
ISBN Print: 951-42-5681-6
Issue: 347
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2000. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.