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Leaf compensatory growth as a tolerance strategy to resist herbivory in Pancratium sickenbergeri
- Ruiz-R, Natalia, Ward, David, Saltz, David
- Plant ecology 2008 v.198 no.1 pp. 19-26
- Gazella, Pancratium, at-risk population, compensatory growth, fruits, gazelles, herbivores, leaf area, leaves, regrowth, reproduction, Israel
- We examined the effects of leaf herbivory by the dorcas gazelle, Gazella dorcas, on the compensatory growth of the geophyte Pancratium sickenbergeri (Amaryllidaceae) in the Negev desert, Israel. In three populations exposed to different levels of herbivory, we removed different amounts of photosynthetic leaf area from plants in five clipping treatments: 0, 25, 50%-dispersed over all leaves, 50%-entire area of half the leaves, 100%. The population with the lowest level of herbivory showed the lowest relative regrowth rate after clipping. In the population with a constantly high level of herbivory, plants in intermediate-clipping treatments overcompensated in leaf area after clipping. For all the populations, clipped plants produce more new leaves than unclipped plants. In the population with the highest level of herbivory, clipping treatments did not have a significant effect on the number of fruits per plant. In addition, we did not find a trade-off between investments in growth and reproduction in this population. Our results indicated that, in the desert lily, herbivores may select for plant mechanisms that compensate after damage as a tolerant strategy to maintain fitness.