Advertisement

Plant Ecology

, Volume 215, Issue 3, pp 347–354 | Cite as

Nitrogen translocation between clonal mother and daughter trees at a grassland–forest boundary

  • Bradley D. Pinno
  • Scott D. Wilson
Article

Abstract

There is abundant evidence from short-term experiments using herbs that nutrients can be translocated from mother ramets to daughter ramets, but there is little long-term evidence from woody plants. Here, we examine translocation in field populations of a clonal tree over two growing seasons. We applied 15N to mothers or daughters in clones of Populus tremuloides at the northern edge of the North American Great Plains, where mother ramets form closed-canopy stands on relatively nutrient-rich soils, and daughter ramets occur nearby in relatively nutrient-poor grasslands. Unlabeled daughters in clones with labeled mothers had δ15N values significantly greater than those in unlabeled clones, confirming translocation from mothers to daughters. However, unlabeled mothers in clones with labeled daughters also had δ15N values significantly greater than those in unlabeled clones, indicating translocation from daughters to mothers. Further, the total foliage accumulation of added 15N was significantly (c. 10×) greater in mothers than in daughters, suggesting that more N was translocated from daughters to mothers, than from mothers to daughters. Thus, 15N moved both from mothers to daughters and from daughters to mothers, with net flow toward mothers. Because long-lived woody ramets in the field face nutrient competition from other ramets, interspecific neighbors, and soil microbes, the environmental availability of nutrients for uptake may be low for both mother and daughter ramets, causing translocation within a clone to be toward larger ramets with greater demand.

Keywords

Aspen Heterogeneity Invasion Isotope Nitrogen Nutrient Patch Root 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank M. Jakubowski and K. Tollefson for field and laboratory assistance, E. Dorrepaal, R. Giesler, M. Köchy, and reviewers for comments, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada for support.

Supplementary material

11258_2014_305_MOESM1_ESM.doc (336 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 336 kb)

References

  1. Arnold T, Appel H, Patel V, Stocum E, Kavalier A, Schultz J (2004) Carbohydrate translocation determines the phenolic content of Populus foliage: a test of the sink-source model of plant defense. New Phytol 164:157–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baret M, DesRochers A (2011) Root connections can trigger physiological responses to defoliation in nondefoliated aspen suckers. Botany 89:753–761CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barnes BV (1966) The clonal growth habit of American aspens. Ecology 47:439–447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Belsky AJ (1992) Effects of trees on nutritional quality of understorey gramineous forage in tropical savannas. Trop Grassl 26:12–20Google Scholar
  5. DesRochers A, Lieffers VJ (2001) The coarse-root system of mature Populus tremuloides in declining stands in Alberta, Canada. J Veg Sci 12:355–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. D’Hertefeldt T, Jonsdottir IS (1999) Extensive physiological integration in intact clonal systems of Carex arenaria. J Ecol 87:258–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. D’Hertefeldt T, Falkengren-Grerup U, Jonsdottir IS (2011) Responses to mineral nutrient availability and heterogeneity in physiologically integrated sedges from contrasting habitats. Plant Biol 13:483–492PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Eilts JA, Mittelbach GG, Reynolds HL, Gross KL (2011) Resource heterogeneity, soil fertility, and species diversity: effects of clonal species on plant communities. Am Nat 177:574–588PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Farquhar GD, Oleary MH, Berry JA (1982) On the relationship between carbon isotope discrimination and the inter-cellular carbon dioxide concentration in leaves. Aust J Plant Phys 9:121–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fridley JD (2012) Extended leaf phenology and the autumn niche in deciduous forest invasions. Nature 485:359–362PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gough L, Gross KL, Cleland EE, Clark CM, Collins SL, Fargione JE, Pennings SC, Suding KN (2012) Incorporating clonal growth form clarifies the role of plant height in response to nitrogen addition. Oecologia 169:1053–1062PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Green LE, Porras-Alfaro A, Sinsabaugh RL (2008) Translocation of nitrogen and carbon integrates biotic crust and grass production in desert grassland. J Ecol 96:1076–1085CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. He WM, Alpert P, Yu FH, Zhang LL, Dong M (2011) Reciprocal and coincident patchiness of multiple resources differentially affect benefits of clonal integration in two perennial plants. J Ecol 99:1202–1210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hodge A (2004) The plastic plant: root responses to heterogeneous supplies of nutrients. New Phytol 162:9–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ikegami M, Whigham DF, Werger MJA (2008) Optimal biomass allocation in heterogeneous environments in a clonal plant—spatial division of labor. Ecol Model 213:156–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Janecek S, Kantorova J, Bartos M, Klimesova J (2008) Integration in the clonal plant Eriophorum angustifolium: an experiment with a three-member-clonal system in a patchy environment. Evol Ecol 22:325–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kellman M, Carty A (1986) Magnitude of nutrient influxes from atmospheric sources to a Central American Pinus caribaea woodland. J Appl Ecol 23:211–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kembel SW, Cahill JF (2005) Plant phenotypic plasticity belowground: a phylogenetic perspective on root foraging trade-offs. Am Nat 166:216–230PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Köchy M, Wilson SD (2001) Nitrogen deposition and forest expansion in the northern Great Plains. J Ecol 89:807–817CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Krasny ME, Johnson EA (1992) Stand development in aspen clones. Can J For Res 22:1424–1429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Li X, Wilson SD (1998) Facilitation among woody plants establishing in an old field. Ecology 79:2694–2705CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mansson K, Bengtson P, Falkengren-Grerup U, Bengtsson G (2009) Plant-microbial competition for nitrogen uncoupled from soil C:N ratios. Oikos 118:1908–1916CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Marba N, Hemminga MA, Mateo MA, Duarte CM, Mass YEM, Terrados J, Gacia E (2002) Carbon and nitrogen translocation between seagrass ramets. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 226:287–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Matlaga DP, Sternberg LDL (2009) Ephemeral clonal integration in Calathea marantifolia (Marantaceae): evidence of diminished integration over time. Am J Bot 96:431–438PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Oborny B, Mony C, Herben T (2012) From virtual plants to real communities: a review of modelling clonal growth. Ecol Model 234:3–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Peltzer DA (2002) Does clonal integration improve competitive ability? A test using aspen (Populus deltoides [Salicacaeae]) invasion into prairie. Am J Bot 89:494–499PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Peltzer DA, Wilson SD (2001) Variation in plant responses to neighbors at local and regional scales. Am Nat 157:610–625PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pinno BD, Wilson SD (2013) Fine root response to soil resource heterogeneity differs between grassland and forest. Plant Ecol 214:821–829CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Prado P, Collier CJ, Lavery PS (2008) 13C and 15N translocation within and among shoots in two Posidonia species from Western Australia. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 361:69–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ratajczak Z, Nippert JB, Hartman JC, Ocheltree TW (2011) Positive feedbacks amplify rates of woody encroachment in mesic tallgrass prairie. Ecosphere 2:121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ridolfi L, Laio F, D’Odorico P (2008) Fertility island formation and evolution in dryland ecosystems. Ecol Soc 13: 5 [online]Google Scholar
  32. Roiloa SR, Retuerto R (2006) Physiological integration ameliorates effects of serpentine soils in the clonal herb Fragaria vesca. Physiol Plant 128:662–676CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Saitoh T, Seiwa K, Nishiwaki A (2006) Effects of resource heterogeneity on nitrogen translocation within clonal fragments of Sasa palmata: an isotopic (15N) assessment. Ann Bot 98:657–663PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Soil Classification Working Group (1998) The Canadian system of soil classification. NRC Research Press, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  35. Steinaker DF, Wilson SD (2005) Belowground litter contributions to nitrogen cycling at a northern grassland–forest boundary. Ecology 86:2825–2833CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Stuefer JF, During HJ, Dekroon H (1994) High benefits of clonal integration in two stoloniferous species, in response to heterogeneous light environments. J Ecol 82:511–518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Ter-Mikaelian MT, Korzukhin MD (1997) Biomass equations for sixty-five North American tree species. For Ecol Manage 97:1–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tilman D (1987) Secondary succession and the pattern of plant dominance along experimental nitrogen gradients. Ecol Monogr 57:189–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wang ZW, Li YH, During HJ, Li LH (2011) Do clonal plants show greater division of labour morphologically and physiologically at higher patch contrasts? PLOS ONE 6:e25401PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Whitlock R, Grime JP, Burke T (2010) Genetic variation in plant morphology contributes to the species-level structure of grassland communities. Ecology 91:1344–1354PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Xu CY, Schooler SS, Van Klinken RD (2010) Effects of clonal integration and light availability on the growth and physiology of two invasive herbs. J Ecol 98:833–844CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Xu L, Yu FH, van Drunen E, Schieving F, Dong M, Anten NPR (2012) Trampling, defoliation and physiological integration affect growth, morphological and mechanical properties of a root-suckering clonal tree. Ann Bot 109:1001–1008PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zhang YC, Zhang QY, Yirdaw E, Luo P, Wu N (2008) Clonal integration of Fragaria orientalis driven by contrasting water availability between adjacent patches. Bot Stud 49:373–383Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northern Forestry CentreCanadian Forest Service, Natural Resources CanadaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of ReginaReginaCanada

Personalised recommendations