Distinct responses of frond and root to increasing nutrient availability in a floating clonal plant

PLoS One. 2021 Oct 11;16(10):e0258253. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0258253. eCollection 2021.


Current knowledge on responses of aquatic clonal plants to resource availability is largely based on studies manipulating limited resource levels, which may have failed to capture the “big picture” for aquatic clonal plants in response to resource availability. In a greenhouse experiment, we grew the floating clonal plant Spirodela polyrhiza under ten nutrient levels (i.e., 1/64×, 1/32×, 1/16×, 1/8×, 1/4×, 1/2×, 1×, 2×, 4× and 8×full-strength Hoagland solution) and examined their responses in terms of clonal growth, morphology and biomass allocations. The responses of total biomass and number of ramets to nutrient availability were unimodal. A similar pattern was found for frond mass, frond length and frond width, even though area per frond and specific frond area fluctuated greatly in response to nutrient availability. In contrast, the responses of root mass and root length to nutrient availability were U-shaped. Moreover, S. polyrhiza invested more to roots under lower nutrient concentrations. These results suggest that nutrient availability may have distinct influences on roots and fronds of the aquatic clonal plant S. polyrhiza, resulting in a great influence on the whole S. polyrhiza population.

PMID:34634063 | PMC:PMC8504747 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0258253


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