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Nurses experience reciprocal fitness benefits from their distantly related facilitated plants

AuthorsSortibrán, L.; Verdú, Miguel ; Valiente-Banuet, Alfonso
Species coexistence
Positive interactions
Plant–plant interactions
Phylogenetic neighborhood
Issue Date10-Oct-2014
CitationPerspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 16(5): 228-235 (2014)
AbstractIt is well known that many plants benefit from growing beside a nurse plant of another species, but the possibility that the nurse also benefits has been rarely studied. We hypothesize that positive interactions are maintained not only because of the recruitment benefits for the facilitated plants but also because of fitness benefits for the nurse plant. We tested this hypothesis by comparing seed production, seed predation and seed viability of a dominant nurse plant species (Mimosa luisana) when growing alone and in patches surrounded by its facilitated species. We also tested whether fitness of the nurse species is dependent on the phylogenetic neighborhood formed by their facilitated species using an analysis that accounted for the abundance and pairwise phylogenetic similitude of all species in each patch. Nurses growing associated to their facilitated species produced more seeds (1.86 times) and these seeds were more viable (1.47 times) than those of nurses growing alone. Seed predation did not alter these fitness differences. Seed number and viability increased in phylogenetically diverse neighborhoods. We conclude that distantly related partners are more likely to cause reciprocal increases in fitness, and that such effects contribute to species coexistence. © 2014 Geobotanisches Institut ETH, Stiftung Ruebel.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ppees.2014.07.001
Identifiersissn: 1618-0437
Appears in Collections:(CIDE) Artículos
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