Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2007, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (4): 619-624.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2007.0079

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ZHANG Li-Li1,2, DONG Ming1, LI Ren-Qiang1,2, WANG Yan-Hong1,2, CUI Qing-Guo1,2, HE Wei-Ming1,*()   

  1. 1Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    2Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2006-06-27 Accepted:2007-01-05 Online:2007-06-27 Published:2007-07-30
  • Contact: HE Wei-Ming


Aims The connected fragments of clonal plants often grow in different soil-nutrient patches, and clonal integration can modify the plasticity of these connected clonal fragments in diverse ways. We address how nutrient patch contrast modifies intensity and direction of clonal integration.
Methods In a common garden experiment, we planted clonal fragments of Glechoma longituba in four nutrient-patch contrast conditions: no (control), low, medium and high contrast. Water was supplied when necessary. We measured physiological traits at peak growth and harvested all plant materials at the end of the experiment, which ran from July 19 through September 30, 2005. Data were analyzed with SPSS software.
Important findings Clonal integration in gas exchange, water potential, fluorescence, growth and biomass allocation differed among nutrient patch contrast treatments. Higher contrast had smaller integration in both gas exchange and dark fluorescence response and greater integration in leaf water potential. Direction of clonal integration for some characteristics also different among treatments, indicating that the threshold of soil-nutrient patch contrast might play a fundamental role in determining integration direction. Clonal integration had far broader effects on growth and allocation than physiological traits. We infer that nutrient-patch contrast may modify the intensity and direction of clonal integration, which in turn can shape the phenotypic plasticity of clonal plants.

Key words: clonal plasticity, fluorescence, gas exchange, growth and allocation, nutrient patches, physiological integration