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Variation in branch length in Fagopyrum esculentum in response to density and emergence date: No evidence for true plasticity

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Plasticity is an important attribute that enables plants to maintain fitness in heterogeneous environments. The objective of this study was to investigate plasticity in branch length in Fagopyrum esculentum Moench. Seeds of the species were sown under two contrasting conditions through the manipulation of planting density (inter-planting distances at 20, 15, 10, and 5cm) and sowing date (25 July, 1 August, 5 August, and 15 August). Allometric analysis of the relationships between branch length and total biomass showed a significant (p< 0.05) departure from isometry. This indicates that branch length increased linearly as a function of size. However, branch length was smaller in the group of plants sown at higher densities and at late sowing dates. True plasticity, which would have been indicated by significant differences in allometric exponents within treatments, was not observed in this study. Our results suggest that the differences observed in branch length were due to the direct effect of size rather than as a result of true plastic investment in branches.

La plasticité constitue un attribut qui rend les plantes aptes à s'adapter aux milieux hétérogènes. L'objectif de cette étude consiste à étudier la plasticité dans la longueur des branches du Fagopyrum esculentum Moench. Les auteurs ont semé des graines de cette espèce sous deux ensembles de conditions contrastés via la variation de la densité de plantation (distances entre les plants: 20cm, 15cm, 10cm, 5cm) et de la date d'ensemencement (25 juillet, 1 août, 5 août et 15 août). L'analyse allométrique des relations entre la longueur des branches et la biomasse totale montre un écart significatif par rapport à l'isométrie. Ceci indique que la longueur des branches augmente linéairement en fonction de leur dimension. Cependant, la longueur des branches est plus petite dans les groupes de plantes semées aux plus fortes densités et aux dates les plus tardives. Dans cette étude, les auteurs n'ont pas pu observer de véritable plasticité manifestée par des différences significatives dans les exposants allométriques selon les traitements. Les résultats indiquent que les différences observées dans les longueurs des branches seraient dues à un effet direct de la dimension plutôt que le résultat d'un véritable investissement plastique dans les branches.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal features comprehensive research articles and notes in all segments of plant sciences, including cell and molecular biology, ecology, mycology and plant-microbe interactions, phycology, physiology and biochemistry, structure and development, genetics, systematics, and phytogeography. It also publishes commentary and review articles on topics of current interest, contributed by internationally recognized scientists.

    Previously published as the Canadian Journal of Botany
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