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Type: Journal article
Title: Spatial analysis of root hemiparasitic shrubs and their hosts: a search for spatial signatures of above- and below-ground interactions
Author: Dueholm, B.
Bruce, D.
Weinstein, P.
Semple, S.
Møller, B.
Weiner, J.
Citation: Plant Ecology, 2017; 218(2):185-196
Publisher: Springer
Issue Date: 2017
ISSN: 1385-0237
1573-5052
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Bjørn Dueholm; David Bruce; Philip Weinstein; Susan Semple; Birger Lindberg Møller; Jacob Weiner
Abstract: Root hemiparasitic plants take up resources from the roots of neighbouring plants, which they use for fuelling their own growth. While taking up resources from the hosts below-ground, they may simultaneously compete with the hosts for sunlight. Suppression caused by the parasitism could result in openings in the vegetation structure and increased mortality levels. On the other hand, the root hemiparasites may also be constrained by the hosts, restricting the parasites to a limited number of locations within a community. These vegetation alterations and location restrictions can be referred to as spatial signatures of the root hemiparasites. In order to search for such spatial signatures, we investigated a population of a predominant Acacia species in Australia co-occurring with established root hemiparasitic shrubs, using intensity estimates of the Acacia and dead shrubs to be indicators of parasite populations. We find evidence that the root hemiparasitic shrubs, like herbaceous root hemiparasites, prefer growing at distances from neighbouring plants that fulfil resource requirements both below-ground and above-ground. Assuming that root hemiparasites are limited by their hosts, we present an optimal host density and distance to host hypothesis (‘Goldilocks hypothesis’) to account for such a vegetation pattern. Althoughmortality appeared to primarily result from intraspecific competition and shoot parasitism, the root parasitism could explain some of the mortality in open areas. It is likely that both processes occur simultaneously. In spite of differing annual and perennial life strategies among root hemiparasites, root parasitism across systems may follow these two general processes in the formation of vegetation patterns.
Keywords: Above-ground competition; hemiparasitic plants and hosts; vegetation structure; Acacia ligulata; Santalum spicatum; Cassytha melantha
Description: Corrected by: Erratum to: Spatial analysis of root hemiparasitic shrubs and their hosts: a search for spatial signatures of above- and below-ground interactions (Plant Ecol, 10.1007/s11258-016-0676-8), in Plant Ecol (2017) 218:197-199. The original publication of the article includes an error in Figs. 2 and 3. The correct version of Figs. 2 and 3 are provided in this erratum.
Rights: © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016
RMID: 0030058381
DOI: 10.1007/s11258-016-0676-8
Appears in Collections:Ecology, Evolution and Landscape Science publications

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