Growth and Space Use in Competitive Interactions Between Juvenile Trees
We review a series of growth chamber experiments on the effects of elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) and ozone (O3) on Norway spruce (Picea abies Karst.) and European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.), grown in isolation or under intra- and inter-specific competition. Focus is on the mechanistic grounds of competitive interactions between the two tree species and on the question of whether competition affects the responses of plants to the gaseous treatments. We found competitive interactions between plants to significantly alter impacts of atmospheric CO2 and O3 concentrations. It appears that the more intense the competition is, the stronger the response to other stressors may be modified. Hence, responses of plants grown in isolation are of only limited relevance for plants grown in mono- or mixed cultures. In situations with intense competitive interactions, the efficient occupation of space represents an effective mechanism to be competitive by increasing the resource accessibility relative to competing neighbors.
KeywordsMixed Culture Relative Growth Rate Competitive Interaction Competitive Success Space Occupation
The authors are indebted to Drs. H.-D. Payer and H. K. Seidlitz (Helmholtz Zentrum München—German Research Center for Environmental Health) as well as their teams for excellent and unstinting cooperation and support during the experiments in the phytotron facility. In particular, the Master and PhD-students of this project, i.e., A. Jungermann, Dr. A. R. Kozovits, G. Luedemann and Dr. W. Ritter, is thanked. We gratefully acknowledge the skilful assistance by T. Feuerbach, J. Heckmair, P. Kuba, J. Lebherz, H. Lohner and I. Süß. We thank Drs. C. Andersen (EPA, Corvallis, Oregon, USA), F. Fleischmann (Pathology of Woody Plants, Technische Universität München, Germany) and K.-H. Häberle (Ecophysiology of Plants, Technische Universität München, Germany) for valuable discussions. Dr. U. Lüttge (Institute of Botany, Darmstadt University, Germany) is thanked for valuable comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. The investigation was funded through SFB 607 “Growth and Parasite Defense, Project B5” by the “Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft” (DFG).
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