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Competition induces negative conspecific allelopathic effects on seedling recruitment

Competition induces negative conspecific allelopathic effects on seedling recruitment

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YUAN, Ling, Junmin LI, Mark VAN KLEUNEN, 2022. Competition induces negative conspecific allelopathic effects on seedling recruitment. In: Annals of Botany. Oxford University Press (OUP). ISSN 0305-7364. eISSN 1095-8290. Available under: doi: 10.1093/aob/mcac127

@article{Yuan2022-10-13Compe-59013, title={Competition induces negative conspecific allelopathic effects on seedling recruitment}, year={2022}, doi={10.1093/aob/mcac127}, issn={0305-7364}, journal={Annals of Botany}, author={Yuan, Ling and Li, Junmin and van Kleunen, Mark} }

terms-of-use Background and Aims<br />Some plant species suppress competitors through release of chemical compounds into the environment. As the production of allelochemicals may be costly, it would be beneficial if the production of these compounds would only be induced when plants experience competition. We tested whether two plant species that frequently co-occur, show evidence for induced allelopathy in response to intra- and interspecific competition.<br /><br />Methods<br />We used the annual forb Crepidiastrum sonchifolium and the perennial forb Achyranthes bidentata, which are native to China and predominantly occur in ruderal communities, as focal species. We first grew the species without competition, with intraspecific competition and in competition with each other. We chemically analysed aqueous extracts made from these plants to test for evidence that the competition treatments affected the metabolomic profiles of the species. We then tested the effects of the aqueous extracts on seed germination and seedling growth of both plant species.<br /><br />Key results<br />Metabolomic analysis revealed that competition treatments modified chemical profiles of the two study species. The root lengths of A. bidentata and C. sonchifolium seedlings were reduced by the aqueous plant extracts. For seedling root length of A. bidentata, heterospecific allelopathy was more negative than conspecific allelopathy, but for germination of C. sonchifolium seeds, the reverse was true. Moreover, conspecific allelopathic effects on germination of A. bidentata seeds and on seedling root length of both species were most negative when the aqueous extracts were made from plants that had experienced competition. In the case of seedling root length of A. bidentata, this effect was most negative when the plants had experienced interspecific instead of intraspecific competition.<br /><br />Conclusions<br />We showed that plants change their metabolomic profiles in response to competition, and that this correlated with allelopathic inhibition of conspecific seed germination and seedling growth. We suggest that autoallelopathy for seed germination could function as a mechanism to avoid strong competition by keeping the seeds in a dormant state. eng Yuan, Ling Li, Junmin Yuan, Ling van Kleunen, Mark Li, Junmin 2022-11-03T12:51:20Z Competition induces negative conspecific allelopathic effects on seedling recruitment 2022-11-03T12:51:20Z 2022-10-13 van Kleunen, Mark

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