Phenotypic plasticity has been studied in diaspore-dimorphic species, but no such study has been done on a diaspore-polymorphic species. Our aim was to determine the effects of abiotic and biotic factors on phenotypic plasticity of the diaspore-polymorphic cold desert annual Ceratocarpus arenarius. Plants produced from dispersal units near the soil surface (a, basicarps) and at the middle (c) and upper (f) parts of the plant canopy were subjected to different levels of soil moisture, nutrient supply and intramorph and intermorph densities. Different levels of these biotic and abiotic factors resulted in significant variation in total plant mass, diaspore mass, mass allocation to stem and reproductive organs and total number and proportion of morphs a, c and f on an individual. The effect of stress on number and mass of a dispersal unit morph varied by treatment, with dispersal unit f having the highest CV and dispersal unit a the lowest. The success of this diaspore polymorphic species in its rainfall-unpredictable environment likely is enhanced by plasticity in production of the different types of diaspores.
|State||Published - Dec 1 2020|
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