Publications Repository - Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf

1 Publication

The evolutionary stability of antagonistic plant facilitation across environmental gradients

Cabal, C.; Maciel, G. A.; Martinez Garcia, R.


Plant interactions, understood as the net effect of an individual on the fitness of a neighbor, vary in strength and can shift from negative interference to positive facilitation as the environmental conditions change in time and space. However, the biophysical mechanisms underlying these changes are not well understood. Additionally, evolutionary theory questions the stability of antagonistic facilitation. Using a mechanistic model for belowground resource competition between individual plants, we find that, under stress conditions, antagonistic facilitation is evolutionarily stable even when both interacting plants compete for resources. This supports the theory of ecosystem engineers in primary succession and nurse plants in the stress gradient hypothesis. Furthermore, we find that the proportion of the limiting resource that spontaneously becomes available to any plant is the key environmental parameter determining the evolutionary stability of facilitation. This represents a challenge and a potential confusion factor for empirical studies.

Keywords: Ecosystem engineers; Facilitation; Primary sucession; Stress gradient hypothesis; Soil amelioration

Related publications


Years: 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015