Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 498380
Title Competition for light and nutrients in layered communities of aquatic plants
Author(s) Gerven, Luuk P.A. van; Klein, Jeroen J.M. de; Gerla, Daan J.; Kooi, Bob W.; Kuiper, Jan J.; Mooij, Wolf M.
Source American Naturalist 186 (2015)1. - ISSN 0003-0147 - p. 72 - 83.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1086/681620
Department(s) Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management
WIMEK
IMARES Ecosystemen
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2015
Keyword(s) Alternative stable states - Coexistence - Competitive exclusion - Macrophytes - Resource competition - Theoretical model
Abstract

Dominance of free-floating plants poses a threat to biodiversity in many freshwater ecosystems. Here we propose a theoretical framework to understand this dominance, by modeling the competition for light and nutrients in a layered community of floating and submerged plants. The model shows that at high supply of light and nutrients, floating plants always dominate due to their primacy for light, even when submerged plants have lower minimal resource requirements. The model also shows that floating-plant dominance cannot be an alternative stable state in light-limited environments but only in nutrient-limited environments, depending on the plants’ resource consumption traits. Compared to unlayered communities, the asymmetry in competition for light—coincident with symmetry in competition for nutrients—leads to fundamentally different results: competition outcomes can no longer be predicted from species traits such as minimal resource requirements (R* rule) and resource consumption. Also, the same two species can, depending on the environment, coexist or be alternative stable states. When applied to two common plant species in temperate regions, both the model and field data suggest that floating-plant dominance is unlikely to be an alternative stable state.

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