J Plant Ecol ›› 2009, Vol. 2 ›› Issue (3): 135-141.

• Research Articles •

### Effects of traits, species identity and local environmental conditions on the assessment of interactions: insights from an alpine meadow community

Chengjin Chu1, Youshi Wang2, Qi Li1, Luqiang Zhao1, Zhengwei Ren1, Sa Xiao1, Jianli Yuan1 and Gang Wang1,*

1. 1 MOE Key Laboratory of Arid and Grassland Ecology, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China; 2 MOE Key Laboratory of Western China's Environmental System, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
• Received:2009-04-10 Accepted:2009-07-27 Online:2009-08-11 Published:2009-08-26
• Contact: Wang, Gang E-mail:wgmg36@lzu.edu.cn

Abstract: Aims The prediction that facilitation is the dominant interaction in physically stressful conditions has been supported by many but not all field studies. In the present paper, we tested the effects of the identity of species, the local environmental conditions and the currencies of performance measurement on such variation.
Methods Using contrasting two plots, six species, and up to five multiple traits, we comprehensively explored the effects of the above factors on the assessment of plant interactions in an alpine meadow of the Qing-Hai Tibetan Plateau. Additionally, we attempted to figure out the possible mechanisms underlying the responses observed. The data were analysed by both standard ANOVAs and multivariate statistics.
Important findings Our results demonstrated that the response to the removal of neighbours was both species and trait specific, and the effect of the local environmental conditions was dependent on the species involved. The contrast between plots had crucial influence on the net interactions of Kobresia macrantha, but little effect on Elymus nutans. Regarding the abiotic conditions, neighbours had significant impact on soil temperature, moist and solar radiation. The results contribute to advance our knowledge on the potential underlying factors influencing the assessment of facilitation.

Aims The prediction that facilitation is the dominant interaction in physically stressful conditions has been supported by many but not all field studies. In the present paper, we tested the effects of the identity of species, the local environmental conditions and the currencies of performance measurement on such variation.
Methods Using contrasting two plots, six species, and up to five multiple traits, we comprehensively explored the effects of the above factors on the assessment of plant interactions in an alpine meadow of the Qing-Hai Tibetan Plateau. Additionally, we attempted to figure out the possible mechanisms underlying the responses observed. The data were analysed by both standard ANOVAs and multivariate statistics.
Important findings Our results demonstrated that the response to the removal of neighbours was both species and trait specific, and the effect of the local environmental conditions was dependent on the species involved. The contrast between plots had crucial influence on the net interactions of Kobresia macrantha, but little effect on Elymus nutans. Regarding the abiotic conditions, neighbours had significant impact on soil temperature, moist and solar radiation. The results contribute to advance our knowledge on the potential underlying factors influencing the assessment of facilitation.

 [1] Ernesto I. Badano, Omar R. Samour-Nieva, Joel Flores, José L. Flores-Flores, Jorge A. Flores-Cano, Juan P. Rodas-Ortíz. Facilitation by nurse plants contributes to vegetation recovery in human-disturbed desert ecosystems [J]. J Plant Ecol, 2016, 9(5): 485-497. [2] Marco A. Molina-Montenegro, Rómulo Oses, Ian S. Acuña-Rodríguez, Cristian Fardella, Ernesto I. Badano, Patricio Torres-Morales, Jorge Gallardo-Cerda, Cristian Torres-Díaz. Positive interactions by cushion plants in high mountains: fact or artifact? [J]. J Plant Ecol, 2016, 9(2): 117-123. [3] Youshi Wang, M. D. Farnon Ellwood, Fernando T. Maestre, Zhiyong Yang, Gang Wang, Chengjin Chu. Positive interactions can produce species-rich communities and increase species turnover through time [J]. J Plant Ecol, 2012, 5(4): 417-421.
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