Genome size and ploidy influence angiosperm species' biomass under nitrogen and phosphorus limitation.
1195 - 1206
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Angiosperm genome sizes (GS) range c. 2400-fold, and as nucleic acids are amongst the most phosphorus- (P) and nitrogen (N)-demanding cellular biomolecules, we test the hypothesis that a key influence on plant biomass and species composition is the interaction between N and P availability and plant GS. We analysed the impact of different nutrient regimes on above-ground biomass of angiosperm species with different GS, ploidy level and Grime's C-S-R (competitive, stress-tolerant, ruderal) plant strategies growing at the Park Grass Experiment (Rothamsted, UK), established in 1856. The biomass-weighted mean GS of species growing on plots with the addition of both N and P fertilizer were significantly higher than that of plants growing on control plots and plots with either N or P. The plants on these N + P plots are dominated by polyploids with large GS and a competitive plant strategy. The results are consistent with our hypothesis that large genomes are costly to build and maintain under N and P limitation. Hence GS and ploidy are significant traits affecting biomass growth under different nutrient regimes, influencing plant community composition and ecosystem dynamics. We propose that GS is a critical factor needed in models that bridge the knowledge gap between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.
AuthorsGuignard, MS; Nichols, RA; Knell, RJ; Macdonald, A; Romila, CA; Trimmer, M; Leitch, IJ; Leitch, AR
- Organismal Biology