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United, We Stand, Divided, We Fall: Ramet Aggregation Changes the Growth and Size Structure of Two Riparian Plants in Lijiang River Under Waterlogging Stress

Author(s): Ruihua Liu; Qiuwen Chen

Linked Author(s): Qiuwen Chen

Keywords: Aggregation pattern; Programita; Riparian vegetation; Ripley' L function; Waterlog

Abstract: Many types of human-mediated disturbances, occurring at (and driven by processes that occur at) scales from local to global, influence riparian ecosystems. However, few studies have explicitly tested the effects of intraspecific aggregation of offspring ramets on the growth and size structure of plant populations under the waterlog stress pressure. Therefore, based on the data collected from a stationary sample plot of riparian zone along Lijiang River, Guangxi province Southwest China, spatial distribution patterns of the plant community and the two major plant populations (D. ciliaris and C. aciculatus) in this study area and their interspecific relationships on different scales were studied using Ripley' L function in point pattern analysis and Programita software. Meanwhile, a greenhouse experiment was conducted, in which two populations of eight offspring ramets of these two species were grown aggregately or segregately in two waterlogging levels. The results showed that the growth inhibition during the 40 cm waterlogging treatment was more pronounced for shoots than for roots. Ramet aggregation is unfavorable to the growth of D. ciliaris in a nonstressful environment, while the spatial pattern of ramets of C. aciculatus did not have significant effect on their growth. The broader riparian zones of D. ciliaris are determined by its high ramet aggregation leading to greater tolerance to waterlogging, allowing it to exist in the inundated strips.


Year: 2015

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