Mechanisms of Plant Competition
Molecular mechanisms of plant competition: neighbour detection and response strategies
Article first published online: 16 NOV 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Functional Ecology © 2012 British Ecological Society
Special Issue: MECHANISMS OF PLANT COMPETITION
Volume 27, Issue 4, pages 841–853, August 2013
How to Cite
Pierik, R., Mommer, L., Voesenek, L. A. (2013), Molecular mechanisms of plant competition: neighbour detection and response strategies. Functional Ecology, 27: 841–853. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12010
- Issue published online: 24 JUL 2013
- Article first published online: 16 NOV 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 6 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Received: 9 JUL 2012
- Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. Grant Number: 016091116
- phenotypic plasticity;
- shade avoidance;
- Plant competition determines the diversity and species abundance of natural communities as well as potential yields in agricultural systems. Understanding the mechanisms of plant competition is instrumental to understanding plant performance in true vegetations.
- In this review, we will address various components of competition between plant individuals with a specific focus on molecular aspects. As plant–plant interactions during competition are multiple and complex, we will focus here on a restricted set of examples of plant traits that are thought to enhance their performance during competition.
- To respond to competition by neighbours, plants first need to detect these competitors in a reliable way. We discuss the various ways of molecular detection of competition through light-quality signals, nutrient levels, soluble root exudates and volatile organic compounds emitted by neighbouring plants. Once perceived, these signals are translated into responses such as shade avoidance, root foraging and allelopathy.
- We integrate the various molecular patterns of signal detection and subsequent plant responses, both above- and below-ground and including their interaction. We outline research strategies towards creating a general, mechanistic understanding of how plants increase their performance during competition.