Nutrient resorption from senescing leaves of the clonal plant Linnaea borealis in relation to reproductive state and resource availability

Authors

  • M. Niva,

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    1. Department of Plant Ecology, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Villavägen 14, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden
      *Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: mikael.niva@ebc.uu.se
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  • B. M. Svensson,

    1. Department of Plant Ecology, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Villavägen 14, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden
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  • P. S. Karlsson

    1. Department of Plant Ecology, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Villavägen 14, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden
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    • Also at Abisko Scientific Research Station, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, SE-981 07 Abisko, Sweden.


*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: mikael.niva@ebc.uu.se

Summary

  • 1We tested the hypotheses that (i) reproductive ramets of Linnaea borealis L. (Caprifoliaceae) compensate for reproductive investments by enhanced resorption of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) from leaves before abscission, and that (ii) resorption is decreased by increased soil nutrient availability. We also investigated (iii) the significance of resorption for ramet growth and nutrient pool sizes.
  • 2Leaves from reproductive, post-reproductive and non-reproductive ramets were used to investigate compensatory resorption of N and P. To study resorption responses to increased nutrient availability, slow-release fertilizer was applied and differences between defoliated and shaded ramets were noted.
  • 3No compensation for reproductive investments via resorption from senescing leaves was detected. Resorption efficiency increased with increased nutrient availability for N, but showed no response for P. No effect of experimentally denied resorption was seen.
  • 4We propose that extensive physiological integration within clonal fragments of L. borealis buffers resource alterations in ramets associated with reproduction, fertilization and prevented resorption.
  • 5Our results show that the performance of a ramet of a physiologically well integrated plant is not governed by local conditions – ramets can exceed patch nutrient availability without reduced growth and nutrient status.

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