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Separating effects of clonal integration on plant growth during submergence and de-submergence

Wei, Guan-Wen, Shu, Qi, Luo, Fang-Li, Chen, Yu-Han, Dong, Bi-Cheng, Mo, Li-Chun, Huang, Wen-Jun, Yu, Fei-Hai
Flora 2018 v.246-247 pp. 118-125
Alternanthera philoxeroides, clones, dry matter partitioning, flooding tolerance, photosynthates, photosynthesis, plant growth, roots, stolons, submergence
Responses to both submergence and de-submergence are important for evaluating flood tolerance of plants. Clonal integration (resource translocation between connected ramets within clones) has been shown to increase flood tolerance of amphibious clonal plants. However, no study has truly separated the effects of clonal integration during de-submergence from those during submergence. We grew 40 clonal fragments of the amphibious plant species Alternanthera philoxeroides, each consisting of two ramet systems, under half-submerged conditions (one ramet system submerged and the other un-submerged) for 30 d and then de-submerged for 20 d. To evaluate the effects of clonal integration during submergence, stolon connection between the two ramet systems was either severed or not on day 1, and 10 replicates of the fragments of each treatment were harvested on day 30. To evaluate the effects of clonal integration after de-submergence, the remaining 20 clonal fragments with connected stolons during submergence were de-submerged; half of them were subjected to stolon severing on day 31 and the remaining 10 fragments were not. All the 20 fragments for de-submergence were harvested on day 50. After 30 d of submergence, stolon connection between the submerged and the un-submerged ramets significantly increased growth, biomass allocation to roots and photosynthetic capacities of the submerged ramets, and also increased growth and photosynthetic capacities of the un-submerged ramets. Consequently, clonal integration significantly increased growth of the apical ramets, the basal ramets and the whole fragments. However, after 20 d of de-submergence, stolon connection did not significantly affect growth or photosynthetic capacities of either de-submerged or un-submerged ramets. The results suggest that clonal integration plays different roles during submergence and de-submergence. It increases performance of submerged ramets during submergence by translocation of photosynthates from un-submerged ramets, but plays little roles during de-submergence.