University of Oulu

Grazing tolerance of biennial meadow plants in relation to resource availability

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Author: Piippo, Sari1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2010
Publish Date: 2010-05-28
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Science of the University of Oulu for public defence in Kuusamonsali (Auditorium YB210), Linnanmaa, on 9 June 2010, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Doctor Mari Moora
Docent Päivi Tikka


In this thesis I studied responses of three biennial, monocarpic plants Erysimum strictum, Gentianella amarella, and G. campestris, to various aspects in resource availability (i.e. competition, mineral nutrition, neighbor removal) and environmental stress (early frost) at adult or rosette stages and how these effects are related to grazing tolerance. I also studied how manipulations in resource availability affected arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization of the roots.

All three species were relatively tolerant to simulated grazing and in most cases plants were able to compensate quite well for minor biomass losses. According to the compensatory continuum hypothesis, tolerance is most pronounced in resource-rich conditions, but this was not always the case in the present experiments. Erysimum strictum compensated for defoliation at the rosette stage but the reproductive output of adult plants was reduced markedly in the next year. This reduction was strongest among fertilized plants. Moreover, apex removal at the adult stage resulted in overcompensation (i.e. clipped plants were more productive) but only in the absence of fertilization and in the presence of competition, which is against the compensatory continuum hypothesis. In E. strictum a potential cost of compensation appeared as delayed flowering and fruit maturation among clipped plants. However, in spite of early frost treatment clipped plants were still able to overcompensate. In Gentianella amarella and G. campestris, apex removal reduced growth and reproductive performance in most cases. Effects on root fungal parameters were positive or neutral. This pattern suggests that simulated above-ground herbivory tends to increase carbon limitation, and therefore regrowing shoots and the fungal symbionts may appear as alternative, competing sinks for the limited carbon reserves of the host plant.

Both shoot architecture and resource availability modify the responses of the study plants to apical damage at both rosette and adult stages. In addition, different environmental stress factors affect success in compensatory growth.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. A, Scientiae rerum naturalium
ISSN-E: 1796-220X
ISBN: 978-951-42-6211-1
ISBN Print: 978-951-42-6210-4
Issue: 557
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2010. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.