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Uptake and Allocation of 15 N in Alpine Plants: Implications for the Importance of Competitive Ability in Predicting Community Structure in a Stressful Environment

Theresa A. Theodose, Charles H. Jaeger, III, William D. Bowman and James C. Schardt
Oikos
Vol. 75, No. 1 (Feb., 1996), pp. 59-66
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3546321
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3546321
Page Count: 8
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Uptake and Allocation of 15 N in Alpine Plants: Implications for the Importance of Competitive Ability in Predicting Community Structure in a Stressful Environment
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Abstract

Several potential components of competitive ability were determined for 13 plant species in a N-limited alpine moist meadow community in order to determine if competition had an influence on relative abundance in this stressful environment. The components of competitive ability examined were 15 N uptake rate, 15 N allocation, whole plant biomass, root:shoot ratio, and tissue N concentrations. It was hypothesized that 15 N uptake rate would be the component most correlated with relative abundance. However, 15 N uptake rate was negatively correlated with percent cover in the community. In contrast, whole plant biomass and root:shoot ratio were positively correlated with relative abundance. Tissue N concentrations and 15 N allocation were not important predictors of relative abundance. These results suggest that in a harsh environment, high resource uptake rates are not indicative of competitive ability, but may instead be a mechanism by which rare species are able to coexist with competitive dominants.

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