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Sharing of nitrogen between connected ramets of Alternanthera philoxeroides in homogeneous environments

Abstract

Purpose

Benefits of clonal integration have been widely documented in clonal species, but quantitative tests of the translocation of resources in both directions between older and younger ramets (e.g., transport rate and partitioning pattern) are still scarce.

Methods

A control experiment, using a clonal species Alternanthera philoxeroides as plant material and the technique of 15N isotope, was conducted to quantify the transport rate of nitrogen (N) in two opposite directions (i.e., from younger to older ramets or the other way around) within a clone, and the partitioning proportion of N in recipient ramets.

Results

The amount of 15N transported toward the apical part was markedly reduced at the higher external N level, whereas the amount of 15N transported toward the basal part was unrelated to the external N levels. The rate of 15N acropetal transport basically averaged 20.9%, and the rate of 15N basipetal transport generally ranged between 0.2% and 6.3%, both being negatively dependent of ΔPNC (i.e., difference in plant N concentration [PNC] between apical and basal parts). The proportion of 15N in stems and leaves averaged 74.7% and 18.1%, respectively; the proportion of root 15N in the apical part significantly decreased from 7.6% to 0.4% when acropetal transport occurred.

Conclusion

These results suggest that N sharing between connected ramets tended to be acropetal and the partitioning pattern of N is organ-specific in A. philoxeroides, which potentially contributes to the early development of young ramets, and also to the spread of A. philoxeroides in limited N conditions.

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Data availability

The raw data are available on request to the corresponding author.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Ting Fu for her assistance with the experiment.

Funding

This work was supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31500331, 32071525).

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

BCD: designed, established and maintained the experiment; BCD analyzed the data; BCD, PW and FLL drafted the manuscript and contributed to the fnal draft.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Fang-Li Luo.

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Appendix

Appendix

Table 3 ANOVA results showing the effects of position (P) of 15N supply (15N was supplied in either the apical or basal parts) and nitrogen (N) levels (40 or 120 mg N L−1) on the biomass of each plant organ in the apical and basal parts of clonal fragments of Alternanthera philoxeroides. P values less than 0.05 are bold
Table 4 ANOVA results showing the effects of position (P) of 15N supply (15N was supplied in either the apical or basal part) and nitrogen (N) levels (40 or 120 mg N L−1) on the N concentration (conc) of each plant organ in the apical and basal parts of clonal fragments of Alternanthera philoxeroides. P values less than 0.05 are bold
Fig. 6
figure 6

Effects of position of 15N supply (15N was supplied in the apical [blank bar] or basal part [grey bar]) and N levels (40 or 120 mg N L−1) on (A) the total mass and (B-D) the mass of each plant organ in the apical and basal parts of clonal fragments of Alternanthera philoxeroides. Error bar represents mean ± SE

Fig. 7
figure 7

Effects of position of 15N supply (15N was supplied in the apical [blank bar] or basal part [grey bar]) and N levels (40 or 120 mg N L−1) on (A) the whole-plant N concentration and (B-D) the N concentration of each plant organ in the apical and basal parts of clonal fragments of Alternanthera philoxeroides. Error bar represents mean ± SE

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Dong, BC., Wang, P. & Luo, FL. Sharing of nitrogen between connected ramets of Alternanthera philoxeroides in homogeneous environments. Plant Soil (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-022-05475-5

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Keywords

  • Alternanthera philoxeroides
  • Clonal plants
  • Directional transport
  • 15N isotope trace
  • Partitioning of N
  • Physiological integration