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Belowground interactions can affect plants either directly or indirectly via their associated mycorrhizal fungi. However, few studies have experimentally examined the consequences of interspecific root interactions for these important mutualists in the field. We used a trenching experiment to examine how belowground interactions between pinyon pine and one-seed juniper affected the ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungal communities of pinyon pine. Three major findings emerged: (1) pinyons responded to the reduction of juniper roots with a near doubling of fine root biomass in just two years, (2) this increase in pinyon roots translated into a potential two-fold increase in EM abundance, and (3) the EM fungal communities of...
Animals assess many factors when choosing how aggressively to behave during interspecific competitive interactions. Aggressive behaviour can help win resources, but it can also be costly. Here we tested how context such as competitor familiarity, habitat type and resource value affect competitive behaviour using two ant species, Formica xerophila and F. integroides. We found that competitive encounters within an individual's territory yielded more aggressive interactions than encounters in a neutral arena, and aggression towards competitors increased with resource value. Using a recently developed design combining behaviour assays between live ant dyads and ants paired with glass beads chemically resembling competitors,...
Few studies have examined plant–soil relationships in competitive arenas between exotic and native plants in the western United States. A pair-wise competitive design was used to evaluate plant–soil relationships between seedlings of the exotic annual grasses Bromus tectorum and Taeniatherium caput-medusae and the native perennial grasses Elymus elymoides and Pseudoroegneria spicata. Two soils were tested: an arid soil (argid) occupied by E. elymoides and presently invaded by B. tectorum and a high elevation, high organic matter, soil (aquept) where none of the tested species would typically occur. Plant growth proceeded for 85 days at which time above-ground biomass and tissue nutrient concentrations were quantified....
Few studies have examined plant?soil relationships in competitive arenas between exotic and native plants in the western United States. A pair-wise competitive design was used to evaluate plant?soil relationships between seedlings of the exotic annual grasses Bromus tectorum and Taeniatherium caput-medusae and the native perennial grasses Elymus elymoides and Pseudoroegneria spicata. Two soils were tested: an arid soil (argid) occupied by E. elymoides and presently invaded by B. tectorum and a high elevation, high organic matter, soil (aquept) where none of the tested species would typically occur. Plant growth proceeded for 85 days at which time above-ground biomass and tissue nutrient concentrations were quantified....