Relationships among diverse root foraging behaviours: understanding plant behavioural types

  • Author / Creator
    Belter, Pamela R.
  • Behaviours capture the functional response of plants to environmental factors. I explore behaviours for twenty co-occurring grassland species in response to common belowground environmental factors (competition, mycorrhizae, heterogeneous and high nutrients) and their relationship to plant outcomes. First, detailed plant response to neighbours was observed using a specialized apparatus which allowed for visualization of the root system in situ. Species varied in response from strongly aggregating to strongly segregating roots by adjusting overall size and occupation of the soil and/or by altering allocation to roots and the specific placement of roots. In the second study, associations among response to nutrients, mycorrhizae, neighbours, foraging precision, and soil exploration behaviours created behavioural types along two axes: assertiveness and focus. However, neither individual behaviours nor behavioural types influenced plant growth overall. Together, these results suggest the complexity of belowground behaviours and the need to consider associations among behaviours across contexts. See for supporting data files.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2014
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.