Navigation Links
Plants prefer their kin, but crowd out competition when sharing a pot with strangers
Date:11/16/2009

Plants don't mind sharing space with their kin but when they're potted with strangers of the same species they start invigorating their leaves, a study by McMaster University reveals.

The research, which appears in the current issue of the American Journal of Botany, suggests non-kin plants will not only compete underground for soil nutrients, but will attempt to muscle out the competition above ground in the ongoing struggle for light.

It follows previous research from McMaster University which found that plants can recognize their kin through root systems and will compete more strongly for soil nutrients and water with non-sibling plants.

"This is the first study that shows plants are responding to kin at the above ground level," explains Guillermo Murphy, lead author of the study and a graduate student in the Department of Biology at McMaster University. "When they recognize their kin, they grow differently in shape, taller, with more branches and fewer resources into leaves, therefore allowing their siblings to access precious sunlight."

When researchers planted seedlings of a North American species of shade-loving Impatiens in the same pot, they reacted mildly with other offspring from the same mother plant. But when planted among non-kin of the same species, the plants shift extra resources into growing leaves.

"This supports previous research that plants are capable of complex social behaviour and will exhibit altruistic behaviour, giving their siblings a competitive edge in the wild," says Murphy.

In a previous study, led by Susan Dudley, associate professor of biology at McMaster, the Great Lakes sea rocket or Cakile edentula, which flourishes on beaches, showed altruistic behavior among its kin at the root level. When nearby strangers were detected, the sea rocket shifted resources to roots, fighting for precious water and soil nutrients.

This all makes sense on an ecological level, says Murphy. Sea rockets would have easy access to sunlight in its natural beach habitat and therefore, would struggle for nutrients underground. Conversely, Impatiens thrive in the shady woodlands, where moisture is plentiful, but sunlight is scarce.

The roots seem to tell siblings from strangers, he says, whether the change in behaviour is above or below ground. But simply placing them beside one another, in separate pots, did not produce the same results.

In the lab, researchers germinated the seeds from Impatiens collected in the field, to ensure they were properly grouped by sibling and non-siblings.


'/>"/>

Contact: Michelle Donovan
donovam@mcmaster.ca
905-525-9140
McMaster University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Cell death occurs in the same way in plants, animals and humans
2. Iowa State researchers looking for catalyst that allows plants to produce hydrocarbons
3. A step toward better brain implants using conducting polymer nanotubes
4. Plants response to fire tested
5. Explaining why pruning encourages plants to thrive
6. Evolution coup: Study reveals how plants protect their genes
7. Getting plants to rid themselves of pesticide residues
8. Plants on steroids: Key missing link discovered
9. Houseplants cut indoor ozone
10. Missouri Botanical Garden hosts historic meeting to discuss endangered plants in the Caucasus region
11. Discovering soybean plants resistant to aphids and a new aphid
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/20/2016)... , Dec. 20, 2016 The rising ... rental and leasing is stoking significant interest in ... frequency technology, Bluetooth low energy (BLE), biometrics and ... the next wave of wireless technologies in the ... system to advanced access systems opens the market ...
(Date:12/16/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... 2021" report to their offering. ... The biometric vehicle access system market, in ... 14.06% from 2016 to 2021. The market is estimated to be ... Million by 2021. The growth of the biometric vehicle access system ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... Dec 15, 2016 ... Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... The report forecasts the global military biometrics market to ... The report has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis ... its growth prospects over the coming years. The report also includes a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/18/2017)...   Boston Biomedical , an industry leader in ... stemness pathways, will feature data from two clinical studies ... ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, held from January 19-21, in ... Napabucasin is an orally-administered investigational agent designed to inhibit ... stem cells (CSCs) possess the property of stemness – ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... , Jan. 18, 2017   Parent Project Muscular ... to end Duchenne muscular dystrophy (Duchenne) , today ... New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and Talem Technologies ... of robotic technology to assist people living with ... NJIT,s technology – an embedded computer, software, a force ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... Total Orthopedics ... implanted SpineFrontier’s A-CIFT™ Solofuse-P™. The operation took place on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 ... procedure was an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion on a 42 year old ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... January 18, 2017 , ... ... new federally funded bio-focused Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (MII). U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny ... Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL), and the Department of Defense has announced the award of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: