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Fajardo A.,Austral University of Chile | Piper F.I.,Austral University of Chile | Piper F.I.,Institute Ecologia y Biodiversidad IEB | Pfund L.,University of Basel | And 2 more authors.
New Phytologist | Year: 2012

In low temperature-adapted plants, including treeline trees, light-saturated photosynthesis is considerably less sensitive to temperature than growth. As a consequence, all plants tested so far show increased nonstructural carbohydrate (NSC) tissue concentrations when exposed to low temperatures. Reduced carbon supply is thus an unlikely cause for low temperature range limits of plants. For altitudinal treeline trees there is, however, a possibility that high NSC genotypes have been selected. Here, we explored this possibility using afforestations with single-provenance conifers along elevational gradients in the Southern Chilean Andes and the Swiss Alps. Tree growth was measured at each of four approximately equidistant elevations at and below the treeline. Additionally, at the same elevations, needle, branch and stem sapwood tissues were collected to determine NSC concentrations. Overall, growth decreased and NSC concentrations increased with elevation. Along with previous empirical and experimental studies, the findings of this study provide no indication of NSC reduction at the treeline; NSC increased in most species (each represented by one common population) towards their upper climatic limit. The disparity between carbon acquisition and structural carbon investment at low temperature (accumulation of NSC) thus does occur even among genotypes not adapted to treeline environments. © 2012 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2012 New Phytologist Trust.

Cavieres L.A.,University of Concepcion | Cavieres L.A.,Institute Ecologia y Biodiversidad IEB | Penaloza A.,POCH Ambiental SA
Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics | Year: 2012

Most of the studies that have evaluated the interplay between interference and facilitation have been done at the interspecific level, whereas studies at the intraspecific level are scarce. The montane sclerophyllous forests of central Chile are dominated by the tree Kageneckia angustifolia, a semi-deciduous species that lose part of its foliage during summer. It has been reported that during winter snow accumulates in lower amounts beneath the canopy of K. angustifolia favoring the recruitment of new individuals compared to open areas (i.e., facilitation effect). However, it has also been reported that the leaf litter accumulated beneath parental trees contains allelopathic compounds that decrease seed germination, suggesting that recruitment beneath parental plants can be disfavored (i.e., interference effect). Hence, this system seems appropriate to assess the net-outcome between facilitative and negative effects during the emergence and survival of seedlings during the first year. In this study, we asked (i) what is the net-outcome between facilitative and interfering effects for K. angustifolia? (ii) does this net-outcome varies with the distance to parental trees? (iii) are positive and negative effects consistent through the seedling emergence and first year seedling survival phases? (iv) what are the main mechanisms behind the observed net-outcome? and (v) which is the optimal microhabitat for successful recruitment of this species? In an experimental plot of 10,000m 2, we selected ten K. angustifolia trees and evaluated the effect of leaf litter on the emergence and survival of seedlings produced by experimentally sown seed seeds in three different microhabitats: beneath adult trees, edge of canopy and in open areas. In addition, we sampled three K. angustifolia stands to evaluate the microhabitat where the natural recruitment of this species actually occurring. Results showed that (1) seedling emergence was greater beneath canopy, intermediate in canopy edge and low in open areas, (2) whilst leaf litter significantly reduced seed germination, the magnitude of this negative effect was lower than the positive effect of beneath canopy microhabitat, (3) seedling survival was affected by microhabitats but not by the presence of leaf litter, (4) that the main mechanisms behind the observed patterns are the lower and delayed emergence of seedlings in open areas due to the longer duration of snow cover, decreasing the time to growth before the onset of summer drought, and (5) the greatest natural recruitment of K. angustifolia seedlings occurs beneath parental plants. Therefore, our findings suggest that the net-outcome between facilitative and interfering effect during the first year is mostly facilitative, indicating that adult trees of K. angustifolia are exerting a conspecific nurse effect on the recruitment of new individuals, a form of parental care in plants. © 2011 Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics.

Hune M.,Fundacion Ictiologica | Hune M.,Institute Ecologia y Biodiversidad IEB | Vega R.,Institute Fomento Pesquero
Polar Biology | Year: 2015

The black southern cod, Patagonotothen tessellata, is the most important notothenioid fish species in terms of abundance in southern Chilean Patagonia. However, studies on its trophic ecology are scarce. Here we assessed the spatial variation in the diet of P. tessellata between two localities, one with oceanic influence (Staples Strait) and another with continental influence (Puerto Bories). We used permutation analysis combined with non-metric multi-dimensional scaling to evaluate spatial differences in diet. In addition, generalized additive models were used to identify the most significant environmental, biological and spatial predictors of variability in diet. The black southern cod presents spatial differences in diet composition among contrasting environmental localities. The diet in Staples Strait was characterized by the dominance of the polychaete Platynereis australis, whereas diet in Puerto Bories was characterized by crustaceans, mainly ostracods, gammarids and algae, mainly the filamentous green alga Rhizoclonium sp. and the red algae Polysiphonia sp. Diet composition did not show significant difference between sexes, whereas diet of small, medium and large fish differed to some degree. Smaller-sized P. tessellata were most likely to contain food. Salinity and temperature had significant influence on diet variability, suggesting that P. tessellata showed a greater diversity of prey items in environmental conditions with greater temperature and lower salinity. The results provide evidence of two dietary patterns depending on the type of environment in which they are distributed, highlighting the potential role of the environmental variables on the availability and abundance of potential prey and in structuring diet. © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Angelica Casanova-Katny M.,University of Concepcion | Cavieres L.A.,University of Concepcion | Cavieres L.A.,Institute Ecologia y Biodiversidad IEB
Polar Biology | Year: 2012

The vegetation of the Antarctic tundra is dominated by mosses and lichens. Deschampsia antarctica, the Antarctic hairgrass, is one of two vascular plant species which grow along the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. However, little is known about its recruitment and interaction with non-vascular tundra plants. Although several authors propose that tolerance and/or competition should be the main forms of interaction between moss carpets and D. antarctica, no relevant studies exist so far. We investigated whether positive interactions are predominant at the Shetland Islands and the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula and focussed on the role that moss carpets play in the recruitment of D. antarctica. Across the studied zone, D. antarctica showed a significant association with moss carpets, with higher frequencies as well as more and larger individuals than on bare ground. At one site, we conducted moss removal and seedlings transplant experiments to assess the relevance of the moss carpets for different life stages of hairgrass. All experimental individuals survived until the following summer whether the moss carpet was removed or not, but growth rate was significantly lower in tussocks with moss carpets removed. Likewise, tiller size was higher in plants growing in moss carpets than on bare ground. The detected positive interactions with mosses seem to be important for the expansion of D. antarctica, raising the question about their importance under future climate change scenarios. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

Perez F.,University of Santiago de Chile | Perez F.,Institute Ecologia y Biodiversidad IEB
Plant Systematics and Evolution | Year: 2011

In this study I have examined the patterns of morphological and genetic differentiation between two species of the Andean genus Schizanthus that differ in their pollination and mating systems. Schizanthus hookeri has a bee pollination syndrome and is strongly dependent on pollinators for seed set. In contrast, S. grahamii has a hummingbird pollination syndrome and exhibits late autonomous selfing. Southern populations of the latter species have red flowers (reddish morph), while northern populations have yellow (yellowish morph) or pink flowers (pinkish morph). I used two noncoding chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) regions to investigate the genetic affinities between S. hookeri and the three morphs of S. grahamii. I also performed intra- and interspecific crosses to assess whether gene flow between species was possible. Phylogenetic analyses supported the existence of two differentiated clades that did not match currently accepted taxonomic classification. Accordingly, genetic distance did not correlate significantly with morphological distance. No fruits were produced from interspecific crosses, and there were no individuals with intermediate morphology that could indicate current and frequent hybridization events between species. I propose that the discordance between cpDNA data and conventional taxonomy could be explained by parallel evolution, or alternatively, by a very sporadic hybridization. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.

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