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Plant Responses to Cues about Resources

Plant Responses to Cues about Resources

(p.67) 5 Plant Responses to Cues about Resources
Plant Sensing and Communication
Richard Karban
University of Chicago Press

Resources are available in patchy environments and plants sense and respond by placing shoots and roots in relatively rich patches. Plants forage for light and soil nutrients by differentially allocating semi-autonomous modules and thereby adjusting their morphologies. Responses to light quality and quantity often produce shade avoidance syndrome characterized by elongated internodes, fewer leaves, and earlier investment in reproduction. Shorter-term variation in light can result in physiological adjustments. Root topology is adjusted to exploit patchy soil nutrients. Plants recognize their own attached roots versus those of other individuals and avoid competing with themselves. Plants allocate internal resources so as to balance the needs of roots and shoots and they have some ability to coordinate allocation decisions. Many plants appear to prioritize allocation to acquire resources over defense.

Keywords:   allocation, foraging, roots, self/non-self discrimination, shade avoidance, shoots

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