Phenotypic plasticity of invasive Alternanthera philoxeroides in relation to different water availability, compared to its native congener

Geng, Yu-Peng and Pan, Xiao-Yun and Xu, Cheng-Yuan and Zhang, Wen-Ju and Li, Bo and Chen, Jia-Kuan (2006) Phenotypic plasticity of invasive Alternanthera philoxeroides in relation to different water availability, compared to its native congener. ACTA Oecologica, 30 (3). pp. 380-385. ISSN 1146-609X

Abstract

Phenotypic plasticity and genetic differentiation are two possible mechanisms that plants use to cope with varying environments. Although alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) possesses very low genetic diversity, this alien weed has successfully invaded diverse habitats with considerably varying water availability (from swamps to dry lands) in China. In contrast, its native congener (Alternanthera sessilis) has a much narrower ecological breadth, and is usually found in moist habitats. To understand the mechanisms underlying the contrasting pattern, we performed a greenhouse experiment to compare the reaction norms of alligator weed with those of its native congener, in which water availability was manipulated. Our results revealed that the two congeners had similar direction of phenotypic plasticity. However, A. philoxeroides showed greater plasticity in amount than did A. sessilis in many traits examined during the switch from wet to drought treatment. Nearly all of the phenotypic variance in A. philoxeroides could be ascribed to plasticity, while A. sessilis had a much higher fraction of phenotypic variance that could be explained by genotypic variation. These interspecific differences in plastic responses to variable water availability partially explained the difference in spatial distribution of the two congeners.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Author version not held.
Depositing User: Dr Chengyuan-Stephen Xu
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Biological and Physical Sciences
Date Deposited: 04 May 2010 04:14
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 23:50
Uncontrolled Keywords: phenotypic plasticity: biomass allocation; invasive species; Alternanthera philoxeroides, Alternanthera sessilis
Fields of Research (FOR2008): 06 Biological Sciences > 0607 Plant Biology > 060705 Plant Physiology
05 Environmental Sciences > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050103 Invasive Species Ecology
Identification Number or DOI: doi: 10.1016/j.actao.2006.07.002
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/7694

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