Biology of Root Formation and Development pp 353-364

Part of the Basic Life Sciences book series (BLSC, volume 65) | Cite as

The Mutual Distribution of Competing Root Systems

A Stationary Model
  • Ariel Novoplansky
  • Dan Cohen


The spatial distribution of plant roots in the soil is a complex dynamic process that changes in response to the changing morphological, physiological and ecological state of plants and in response to the spatial and temporal distribution of soil resources (Caldwell and Richards 1986, Brisson and Reynolds 1994). The changes in soil resources represent the balance between inputs and losses which include both physical and biotic factors. The depletion of resources by roots is a major feedback process in the dynamics of resources in the environment (e.g. Russel and Newbould 1969, Caldwell 1987).


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Atkinson, D., Naylor, D. and Goldrick, G.A., 1976, The effect of spacing on the apple root system. Hort. Res. 16:89.Google Scholar
  2. Austin, M.R, 1990, Community theory and competition in vegetation, in: “Perspectives on Plant Competition”, J.B. Grace and D. Tilman, eds., Acad. Press, San Diego.Google Scholar
  3. Bilbrough, C.J. and Caldwell, M.M., 1997, Exploitation of springtime ephemeral N pulses by six Great Basin plant species, Ecology 78:23.Google Scholar
  4. Biswell, H.H., 1935, effects of environment upon the root habits of certain deciduous forest trees, Bot. Gaz. 96:676.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brisson, J. and Reynolds, J.F., 1994, The effect of neighbours on root distribution in a creosotebush (Larrea tri-dentata) population, Ecology 75:1693.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Caldwell, M.M., 1987, Competition between root systems in plant communities, in: “Root development and Function”, P.J. Gregory, J.V. Lake and D.A. Rose, eds., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  7. Caldwell, M.M., Dudley, L.M. and Lilieholm, B., 1992, Soil solution phosphate, root uptake kinetics and nutrient accuisition: Implications for a patchy soil environment, Oecologia 89:305.Google Scholar
  8. Caldwell, M.M. and Richards, J.H., 1986, Competing root systems: morphology and models of absorption, in: “Economy of Plant Form and Function”, T. Givnish and R. Robichaud, eds., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  9. Campbell, B.D. and Grime, J.P., 1991, A trade-off between scale and precision in resource foraging, Oecologia 87:532.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cannon, W.A., 1991, The root habitat of desert plants, Pub. Carnegie Inst. of Washington 131:1.Google Scholar
  11. Crick, J.C. and Grime, J.P., 1987, Morphological plasticity and mineral nutrient capture in two herbaceous species of contrasted ecology, New Phytol. 107:403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. D’Antonio, C.M. and Mahall, B.E., 1991, Root profiles and competition between the invasive exotic perennial, Carpobrotus edulis, and two native shrub species in California coastal scrub, Am. J. Bot. 78:885.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Drew, M.C. and Saker, L.R., 1975, Nutrient supply and the growth of the seminal root system in barley. II. Localized, compensatory increases in lateral root growth and rates of nitrate uptake when nitrate supply is restricted to only part of the root system. J. Exp. Bot. 26:79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gersani, M. and Sachs, T., 1992, Development correlations between roots in heterogeneous environments, Plant Cell & Env. 15:463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Heywood, J.S. and Levin, D.A., 1986, Interactions between seed source, planting arrangement, and soil treatment in determining plant size and root allocation in Phlox drummondii, Oecologia 68:285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mahall, B.E. and Callaway, R.M., 1991, Root communication among desert shrubs. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 88:874.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mahall, B.E. and Callaway, R.M., 1996, Effects of regional origin and genotype on inrtaspecific root communication in the desert shrub Ambrosia dumosa (Asteraceae), Am. J. Bot. 83:93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Maynard-Smith, J., 1982, “Evolution and the Theory of Games”, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  19. Milinsky, M. and Parker, G.A., 1991, Competition for resources, in: “Behavioural Ecology”, J.R. Krebs and N.B. Davies, eds., Blackwell Sci. Pub., Oxford.Google Scholar
  20. Novoplansky, A. 1991, Developmental responses of Portulaca seedlings to conflicting spectral signals, Oecologia 88:138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Novoplansky, A., 1996, Developmental responses of individual Onobrychis plants to spatial heterogeneity, Vegetatio 127:31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Novoplansky, A. Cohen, D. and Sachs, T., 1990, How Portulaca seedlings avoid their neighbours. Oecologia 82:490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rogers, W.S. and Whittington, W.J., Factors affecting the distribution and growth of roots of perennial woody species, in: “Root Growth”, W.J. Whittington, ed., Butterworths, London.Google Scholar
  24. Russell, R.S. and Newbould, P., 1969, The pattern of nutrient uptake in root systems; in: “Root Growth”, W.J. Whittington, ed., Butterworths, London.Google Scholar
  25. Solangaarachchi, S.M. and Harper, J.L., 1989, The growth and asymmetry of neighbouring plants of white clover (Trifolium repens L.), Oecologia 78:208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Tilman, D., 1982, “Resource Competition and Community Structure”, Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
  27. Tilman, D., 1990, Mechanisms of plant competition for nutrients: The elements of a predictive theory of competition, in: “Perspectives on Plant Competition”, J.B. Grace and D. Tilman, eds., Acad. Press, San Diego.Google Scholar
  28. Whittaker, R.H., 1975, “Communities and Ecosystems”, 2nd ed. Macmillan, New-York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ariel Novoplansky
    • 1
  • Dan Cohen
    • 2
  1. 1.Ben-Gurion University of the NegevThe Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert ResearchIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Evolution, Systematics and EcologyThe Silberman Institute of Life Sciences The Hebrew University of JerusalemIsrael

Personalised recommendations