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Population-level Responses to Nutrient Heterogeneity and Density by Abutilon Theophrasti (Malvaceae): An Experimental Neigborhood Approach Open Access
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An experimental approach was used to examine the effects of spatial nutrient heterogeneity and planting density on the sizes of plants within populations of Abutilon theophrasti. Planting locations were generated using random numbers and replicated among populations growing on two different scales of heterogeneity and homogeneous soils. The same quantity of nutrients (dehydrated cow manure) was added to each population, regardless of the spatial nutrient distribution. The higher density was achieved by adding additional planting locations to those present at the lower density. Plant biomass was compared among ten planting locations present in all populations. Plants in seven locations were smaller at the higher density, but the spatial distribution of nutrients affected plant size in only two locations. At the population level, the higher density reduced mean plant biomass and increased both total biomass and the coefficient of variation in biomass, a measure of size inequality. Only when populations on both scales of heterogeneity were together compared with those on homogeneous soils were population-level measurements found to be significantly affected by soil treatment; heterogeneity resulted in decreased total biomass and an increase in the coefficient of variation, apparently due to an increase in the number of small plants in the population. These results, together with the finding that fine root biomass increased in nutrient-enriched patches, suggest that on heterogeneous soils most plants were able to access nutrient patches.
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BB Casper and JF Cahill, Jr.. "POPULATION-LEVEL RESPONSES TO NUTRIENT
HETEROGENEITY AND DENSITY BY ABUTILON
THEOPHRASTI (MALVACEAE): AN EXPERIMENTAL
NEIGHBORHOOD APPROACH." American Journal of Botany 85 (1998): 1680-1687.
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