Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2015, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (1): 43-51.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2015.0005

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Responses of the competition between Alternanthera philoxeroides and Sambucus chinensis to simulated warming

BAN Zhi-Hua, WANG Qiong*()   

  1. College of Life Science, China West Normal University, Key Laboratory of Southwest China Wildlife Resources Conservation (Ministry of Education), Nanchong, Sichuan 637002, China
  • Received:2014-06-09 Accepted:2014-11-06 Online:2015-01-10 Published:2015-01-22
  • Contact: Qiong WANG
  • About author:

    # Co-first authors

Abstract: Aims

Research on how competition between invasive and native plants responds to simulated warming can provide insights into the trends and mechanisms of plant invasion, and profoundly helps to screen ecological substitutes under future climates. Our objective was to explore the effects of simulated warming on competition between an invasive species Alternanthera philoxeroides and a native plant Sambucus chinensis.


An experiment was conducted from May to December 2013 with the same five competition scenarios being arranged for under both warming and non-warming environments. Simulated warming was created by using infrared heater. Competition scenarios included non-competition (one plant per pot), intraspecific competition (two plants of the same species per pot) and interspecific competition (one plant for each species per pot). Biomass and root morphological variables were investigated of the plants under different warming and competition treatments.

<i>Important findings</i>

(1) The average air temperature of the simulated warming environment was 0.47 °C higher than that of the non-warming environment, but the relative air humidity was decreased by 1.87% by the simulated warming. (2) Compared with the non-competition scenario, the values of all variables in A. philoxeroides under interspecific competition were significantly lower except the root/shoot ratio, which had no significant difference between the non-competition and interspecific competition scenarios. Root/shoot ratio, the biomass ratio of fine root to total root, relative root length and relative root surface area in S. chinensis did not show significant differences among the three competition scenarios; whereas other variables in S. chinensis decreased significantly following a pattern of non-competition > interspecific competition > intraspecific competition. (3) The effect of warming was not significant under any of the three competition scenarios in A. philoxeroides, but it varied with competition scenarios in S. chinensis. The warming treatment significantly decreased the total biomass and root biomass in S. chinensis under non-competition and interspecific competition scenarios, but it increased the values of the two variables in S. chinensis under the intraspecific competition scenario. (4) The relative crowding coefficient for S. chinensis decreased with warming, reflecting the sensitivity of the species to warming; whereas A. philoxeroides had some adaptability to warming. Therefore, S. chinensis can be a potential ecological substitute for A. philoxeroides under moderate shade in terrestrial habitat.

Key words: Alternanthera philoxeroides, competition, Sambucus chinensis, warming