Functional ecology of growth in seedlings versus root sprouts of Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.
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We assessed growth differences and the foliar traits underpinning production in paired samples of juvenile American beech (Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.) that originated from seed versus root sprouts. Root sprouts had significantly greater relative extension growth rate and slightly greater leaf mass per unit area compared to seed-derived individuals, but neither light-saturated net photosynthetic rate nor foliar chlorophyll and nitrogen concentrations differed significantly between paired seedlings and sprouts. The greater height growth rate of saplings originating as root sprouts does not result from differing foliar function, but rather depends on translocation of assimilates from the parent tree to sustain this unusual and ecologically important dual regeneration strategy in American beech.
KeywordsFagus grandifolia Root sprouts Seedlings Leaf mass per area (LMA) Chlorophyll content Foliar nitrogen Light-saturated net photosynthetic rate
We thank Kevin Gibbons and Eri Kagawa for help in sampling, David Peart and the anonymous reviewers for comments that improved the manuscript, the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research for scholarship support to EF, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada for research support, and McGill University for its stewardship of the Gault Nature Reserve (http://www.mcgill.ca/gault/).
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