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The Impact of Phosphorus on Interactions of the Hemiparasitic Angiosperm Rhinanthus minor and Its Host Lolium perenne

Deborah M. Davies and Jonathan D. Graves
Oecologia
Vol. 124, No. 1 (2000), pp. 100-106
Published by: Springer in cooperation with International Association for Ecology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4222671
Page Count: 7
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The Impact of Phosphorus on Interactions of the Hemiparasitic Angiosperm Rhinanthus minor and Its Host Lolium perenne
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Abstract

The effects of phosphorus supply on the outcome of interactions between the hemiparasitic angiosperm Rhinanthus minor L. with its host species Lolium perenne L. were investigated in a glasshouse experiment. Host plants were grown in 3-1 pots in the presence and absence of R. minor at limiting (0.13 mM P) and optimal (0.65 mM P) concentrations of phosphorus for the growth of the host species. Phosphorus was supplied at 2-day intervals in the form of half-strength Long Ashton nitrate-based solution with phosphorus concentrations adjusted accordingly. Parasitism by R. minor significantly suppressed host growth, with final biomass losses ranging between 32% and 44%. Phosphorus supply had a marked impact on the outcome of the host-parasite interaction. By the end of the growing period, parasite biomass at 0.65 mM P was 90% lower than that achieved at 0.13 mM P. In contrast, host biomass at 0.65 mM P was 74% higher than achieved at 0.13 mM P, indicting that the negative impact of parasitism on the host species was reduced when phosphorus supply was increased. The effects of phosphorus on the host-parasite association appeared to be mediated by changes in both the morphological characteristics of the host roots and the relative sink strengths of the host and parasite.

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