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New Paper in ‘AoB: Plants’

Root contact responses and the positive relationship between intraspecific diversity and ecosystem productivity

Yang, Callaway & Atwater (2015) (link)

When grown next to a familiar neighbor, Johnsongrass root growth was initially rapid, but slowed when root contact occured. The opposite was true for plants grown next to an unfamiliar neighbor.

I’m very pleased to announced that Lixue’s manuscript has just been accepted by Annals of Botany: Plants.

In this paper, we find that bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudorogneria spicata) plants are able to recognize the identity of their neighbors even before their roots touch. The rate of their growth depends on the familiarity of their neighbor.

These exciting results suggest that plants can sense and respond to their neighbors both before and after root contact has occurred, and that neighbor recognition may play a very important role in determining the outcome of competition.