Environmental heterogeneity and clonal growth: a study of the capacity for reciprocal translocation in Glechoma hederacea L.
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- Stuefer, J.F. & Hutchings, M.J. Oecologia (1994) 100: 302. doi:10.1007/BF00316958
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Clonal fragments of Glechoma hederacea L. (Lamiaceae) were subjected to environments in which light and nutrients were supplied with a strictly negative association in space, i.e. when one of these resources was in ample supply the other was scarce. Treatments were chosen to simulate environments in which clones grew either within homogeneous conditions or across patch types (heterogeneous conditions). The hypothesis was tested that reciprocal translocation (i.e. exchange of both nutrients and assimilates) between connected groups of ramets would increase biomass production of clones growing under heterogeneous conditions compared to that of clones growing in homogeneous conditions. A cost-benefit analysis was carried out to test this hypothesis. Results suggested that reciprocal translocation did not occur at the structural scale considered in this experiment; no evidence was found for a significant effect on whole clone biomass of assimilate and/or nutrient translocation between clone parts experiencing contrasting levels of resource supply. It is suggested that predominantly acropetal movement of resources and the pattern of integrated physiological unit formation in G. hederacea are the main properties responsible for the lack of mutual physiological support between connected clonal fragments growing in differing habitat conditions. These properties are expected to promote clonal expansion and the exploitation of new territory, rather than sustaining clone parts in sub-optimal patches of habitat for prolonged periods of time.