J Plant Ecol ›› 2014, Vol. 7 ›› Issue (4): 413-418.doi: 10.1093/jpe/rtt045

• Research Articles • Previous Articles    

Effect of physiological integration in self/non-self genotype recognition on the clonal invader Carpobrotus edulis

Sergio R. Roiloa*, Susana Rodríguez-Echeverría and Helena Freitas   

  1. Department of Life Sciences, Centre for Functional Ecology, University of Coimbra, Calçada Martim de Freitas, 3001–455 Coimbra, Portugal
  • Received:2013-03-16 Accepted:2013-07-29 Online:2013-08-03 Published:2014-07-22
  • Contact: Roiloa, Sergio E-mail:sergio.roiloa@uc.pt

Abstract: Aims Biological invasions represent one of the most important threats to the conservation of biodiversity; however, the mechanisms underlying successful invaders remain unsolved. Many of the most aggressive invaders show clonal growth, and capacity for clonal integration has been pointed out recently as an important trait explaining the success of invasive plants. We aim to determine the role of physiological integration in the capacity for self/non-self genotype recognition in the clonal invader Carpobrotus edulis and the implications of this capacity for the expansion of this aggressive invader.
Methods We used connected and severed ramets of identical or different genotype and we determined the capacity for self/non-self recognition by comparing changes in biomass partitioning to avoid competition for resources between pairs of ramets.
Important findings Physiological integration allowed self/non-self genotype recognition in the invader C. edulis. Results showed a significant effect of physiological integration on the biomass allocated to roots by genetically identical ramets: older ramets specialize in acquisition of soil-based resources and younger ramets specialize in lateral expansion. This specialization could be considered a form of division of labour, which reduce intra-genotype competition. This is the first evidence that division of labour could be interpreted as a form of self/non-self recognition between genetically identical ramets. Capacity for self/non-self discrimination could contribute to increase the colonization capacity of the aggressive invader C. edulis. This is the first study showing an association between self/non-self recognition and invasiveness in a clonal plant.

Key words: biomass allocation, clonal growth, plant invasions, root recognition

摘要:
Aims Biological invasions represent one of the most important threats to the conservation of biodiversity; however, the mechanisms underlying successful invaders remain unsolved. Many of the most aggressive invaders show clonal growth, and capacity for clonal integration has been pointed out recently as an important trait explaining the success of invasive plants. We aim to determine the role of physiological integration in the capacity for self/non-self genotype recognition in the clonal invader Carpobrotus edulis and the implications of this capacity for the expansion of this aggressive invader.
Methods We used connected and severed ramets of identical or different genotype and we determined the capacity for self/non-self recognition by comparing changes in biomass partitioning to avoid competition for resources between pairs of ramets.
Important findings Physiological integration allowed self/non-self genotype recognition in the invader C. edulis. Results showed a significant effect of physiological integration on the biomass allocated to roots by genetically identical ramets: older ramets specialize in acquisition of soil-based resources and younger ramets specialize in lateral expansion. This specialization could be considered a form of division of labour, which reduce intra-genotype competition. This is the first evidence that division of labour could be interpreted as a form of self/non-self recognition between genetically identical ramets. Capacity for self/non-self discrimination could contribute to increase the colonization capacity of the aggressive invader C. edulis. This is the first study showing an association between self/non-self recognition and invasiveness in a clonal plant.

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