4 years ago

Facilitation of amphibious habit by physiological integration in the clonal, perennial, climbing herb Ipomoea aquatica

Facilitation of amphibious habit by physiological integration in the clonal, perennial, climbing herb Ipomoea aquatica
Physiological integration of connected ramets of clonal plants can increase clonal performance when ramets grow in contrasting microenvironments within a habitat. In amphibious clonal species, integration of ramets in different habitats, terrestrial and aquatic, is possible. This may increase performance of amphibious clones, especially under eutrophic conditions. To test this, clonal fragments consisting of two ramets of the amphibious, perennial, climbing herb Ipomoea aquatica connected by a stem were placed such that the proximal ramet was rooted in a simulated riparian community of four other species, while the distal ramet extended into a simulated aquatic habitat with open water and sediment. The connection between ramets was either left intact or severed, and 0, 5, or 25mg N L1 was added to the aquatic habitat to simulate different degrees of eutrophication. Without added N, fragments in which the original ramets were left connected accumulated two times more total mass than fragments in which the ramets were disconnected from one another. The positive effect of connection increased two-fold with increasing N. These results were consistent with the hypotheses that physiological integration between connected terrestrial and aquatic ramets can increase clonal performance in plants and that this effect can be greater when the aquatic ramet is richer in nutrients. Connection reduced root to shoot ratio in terrestrial ramets, but increased it in aquatic ones, suggesting that physiological integration induced a division of labor in which terrestrial ramets specialized for light acquisition and aquatic ramets specialized for acquisition of nutrients. This provides the first report of increase in clonal performance and induction of division of labor due to physiological integration between ramets in different habitats.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0048969717330826

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