Researches on Population Ecology

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 83–93 | Cite as

Shoot growth dynamics and size-dependent shoot fate of a clonal plant,Festuca rubra, in a mountain grassland

  • Toshihiko Hara
  • Tomas Herben


The relation of the within-season and between-season patterns of shoot growth were compared in a clonal grass with long-lived shoots,Festuca rubra, in a mown mountain grassland. The growth rate of shoot length from spring to summer in a year was almost constant for each shoot irrespective of spring shoot length each year. The annual shoot growth rate from spring to spring was negatively correlated with the shoot length in the first spring. Shoots of different length and age therefore tended to converge over time to a population of identical shoot size, suggesting an equalizing effect of growth pattern on size structure. Shoot size (shoot length and number of leaves) influenced the fates of shoots. Larger shoots showed an increased incidence of both flowering and formation of intravaginal daughter shoots and a decreased incidence of death in the subsequent time period. The fates of shoots were independent of their age. Although the negatively size-dependent springto-spring annual shoot growth rate acted to decrease shoot size variation, the remaining variation within the shoot population was still sufficient to generate different fates of shoots. These fates were not related to the previous life history of individual shoots. There was a significantly positive effect of the shoot size at initiation on its life expectancy. This was mainly attributable to the positively size-dependent survival rate of shoots in the early stage (<1 year old) of shoot life history. Later on (> 1 year old), shoot size had little effect on the survival rate of shoots. Once small young shoots have survived this early stage (< 1 year old) in life history, they can grow vigorously, little affected by competition regardless of shoot size, and converge to a stable size structure of shoots of similar size. Only shoot size in the early stage ( < 1 year old) of life history is important for the persistence of a shoot population.

Key words

daughter shoot formation flowering shoot demography shoot survival diffusion model stability of shoot population 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bradbury, I. K. (1981) Dynamics, structure and performance of shoot populations of the rhizomatous herbSolidago canadensis L. in abandoned pastures.Oecologia 48: 271–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cain, M. L. (1990) Patterns ofSolidago altissima ramet growth and mortality: the role of below-ground ramet connections.Oecologia 82 : 201–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Carlsson, B. A. and T. V. Callaghan (1991) Simulation of fluctuating population ofCarex bigelowii tillers classified by type, age and size.Oikos 60: 231–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Caswell, H. and P. A. Werner (1978) Transient behavior and life history analysis of teasel(Dipsacus silvestris Huds.).Ecology 59: 53–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. eKroon, H. (1993) Competition between shoots in stands of clonal plants.Plant Species Biology 8: 85–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. De Kroon, H., T. Hara and R. Kwant (1992) Size hierarchies of shoots and clones in clonal herb monocultures: Do clonal and non-clonal plants compete differently?Oikos 63 : 410–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dixon, W. J. [ed.] (1992)BMDP Statistical Software Manual. University of California Press, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  8. Efron, B. (1982)The jacknife, the bootstrap, and other resampling plans. Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
  9. Ekstam, B. (1995) Ramet size equalisation in a clonal plant,Phragmites australis. Oecologia 104: 440–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Eriksson, O. (1988) Ramet behaviour and population growth in the clonal herbPotentilla arenaria. Journal of Ecology 76: 522–536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Eriksson, O. and L. Jerling (1990) Hierarchical selection and risk spreading in clonal plants, pp. 79–94.In J. van Groenendael and H. de Kroon (eds.)Clonal growth in plants: regulation and function. SPB Academic Publishing, The Hague.Google Scholar
  12. Gamier, E. and J. Roy (1988) Modular and demographic analysis of plant leaf area in sward and woodland populations ofDactylis glomerata andBromus erectus.Journal of Ecology 76: 729–743.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hara, T. (1984) A stochastic model and the moment dynamics of the growth and size distribution in plant populations.Journal of Theoretical Biology 109: 173–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hara, T. (1988) Dynamics of size structure in plant populations.Trends in Ecology and Evolution 3: 129–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hara, T. (1994) Growth and competition in clonal plants—Persistence of shoot populations and species diversity.Folia Geobotanica et Phytotaxomica 29: 181–201.Google Scholar
  16. Hara, T., M. Kimura and K. Kikuzawa (1991) Growth patterns of tree height and stem diameter in populations ofAbies veitchii, A. mariesii andBetula ermanii.Journal of Ecology 79: 1085–1098.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hara, T. and M. Šrůtek (1995) Shoot growth and mortality patterns ofUrtica dioica, a clonal forb.Annals of Botany 76: 235–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hara, T., J. van der Toorn and J. H. Mook (1993) Growth dynamics and size structure of shootsof Phragmites australis, a clonal plant.Journal of Ecology 81: 47–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hara, T. and M. Wakahara (1994) Variation in individual growth and the population structure of a woodland perennial herb,Paris tetraphylla.Journal of Ecology 82: 3–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Herben, T., F. Krahulec, V. Hadincová and M. Kovářová (1993a) Vegetative tiller allometry and biomass relationships in a field population ofFestuca rubra s.s.Preslia (Praha) 65: 163–169.Google Scholar
  21. Herben, T., F. Krahulec, V. Hadincová and M. Kovárová (1993b) Tiller demography ofFestuca rubra in a mountain grassland: seasonal development, life span and flowering.Preslia (Praha) 65 : 341–353.Google Scholar
  22. Herben, T., F. Krahulec, V. Hadincová, M. Kovárová and H. Skálová (1994) Morphological constraints of shoot demography of a clonal plant: extraand intravaginal tillers ofFestuca rubra.Plant Species Biology 9 : 183–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hutchings, M. J. (1983) Shoot performance and population structure in pure stands ofMercurialis perennis L., a rhizomatous perennial herb.Oecologia 58: 260–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hutchings, M. J. (1986) The structure of plant populations, pp. 97–136.In M. J. Crawley (ed.)Plant ecology. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford.Google Scholar
  25. Hutchings, M. J. and J. P. Barkham (1976) An investigation of shoot interactions inMercurialis perennis L., a rhizomatous perennial herb.Journal of Ecology 64: 723–743.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jonsdottir, G. A. (1991) Shoot demography in seashore populations ofAgrostis stolonifera, Festuca rubra andPoa irrigata.Journal of Vegetation Science 2: 89–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kohyama, T. (1991) Simulating stationary size distribution of trees in rain forests.Annals of Botany 68: 173–180.Google Scholar
  28. Langer, R. H. M. (1963) Tillering in herbage grasses.Herbage Abstracts 33: 141–148.Google Scholar
  29. Landa, K., B. Benner, M. A. Watson and J. Gartner (1992) Physiological integration for carbon in mayapple(Podophyllum peltatum), a clonal perennial herb.Oikos 63: 348–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Petersen, T. D., Z. Ning and M. Newton (1990) Dynamics of size structure in seedling stands ofFraxinus mandshurica in Northeast China.Annals of Botany 66: 255–263.Google Scholar
  31. Pitelka, L. F. and J. W. Ashmun (1985) Physiology and integration of ramets in clonal plants, pp. 399–435.In J. B. C. Jackson, L. W. Buss and R. E. Cook (eds.)Population biology and evolution of clonal organisms. Yale University Press, New Haven.Google Scholar
  32. Sokal, R. R. and F. J. Rohlf (1981)Biometry. W. H. Freeman, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  33. Suzuki, J. (1994) Growth dynamics of shoot height and foliage structure of a rhizomatous perennial herb,Polygonum cuspidatum.Annals of Botany 73: 629–638.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Weiner, J. (1990) Asymmetric competition in plant populations.Trends in Ecology and Evolution 5: 360–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Werner, P. A. and H. Caswell (1977) Population growth rates and age versus stage distribution models for teasel(Dipsacus sylvestris Huds.).Ecology 58: 1103–1111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. West, P. W., D. R. Jackett and C. J. Borough (1989) Competitive processes in a monoculture ofPinus radiata D.Don.Oecologia 81: 57–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Westoby, M. (1984) The self-thinning rule.Advances in Ecological Research 14: 167–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of Population Ecology 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Institute of Low Temperature ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporo 060Japan
  2. 2.Academy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicInstitute of BotanyPrůhoniceCzech Republic

Personalised recommendations