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Population-Level Compensation after Loss of Vegetative Buds: Interactions among Damaged and Undamaged Cotton Neighbours

Víctor O. Sadras
Oecologia
Vol. 106, No. 4 (1996), pp. 417-423
Published by: Springer in cooperation with International Association for Ecology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4221279
Page Count: 7
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Population-Level Compensation after Loss of Vegetative Buds: Interactions among Damaged and Undamaged Cotton Neighbours
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Abstract

Population-level compensation occurs "when herbivore attack on one individual allows another individual to grow more rapidly". This form of compensation was investigated in high and low density cotton crops subjected to three treatments: (i) undisturbed controls, (ii) uniformly damaged, in which all plants were damaged, and (iii) non-uniformly damaged, in which every second plant was damaged. Damaged plants had their vegetative buds manually removed to simulate damage by Helicoverpa spp. (Lepidoptera). Removal of vegetative buds did not reduce seed cotton production per unit ground area. In uniformly damaged crops, compensation was essentially the result of profuse branching after release of apical dominance and activation of axilary buds. In non-uniformly damaged crops, population level mechanisms acted that involved strong plant-plant interactions. At both plant densities, undamaged plants grown alongside damaged neighbours accumulated more root and shoot biomass and produced more seed cotton than undamaged plants in uniform crops. Different degrees of symmetry in the relationship between damaged and undamaged neighbours lead to different degrees of compensation, viz. seed cotton production of non-uniformly damaged crops ranged from 98 to 125% of that in controls. At high plant density, neighbour status also affected flowerbud initiation and/or retention. Changes in competitive relationships as well as early detection of and response to neighbour status were likely involved in these responses.

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