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Ellison Abstract- 1989 Ellison and Rabinowitz

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Ellison, A. M., and D. Rabinowitz. 1989. Effects of Plant Morphology and Emergence Time on Size Hierarchy Formation in Experimental Populations of Two Varieties of Cultivated Peas (Pisum sativum). American Journal of Botany 76: 427-436.


The effects of plant form and emergence time on size hierarchy formation in populations of two morphologically and genetically distinct varieties of peas (leafless and leafed) were studied. There were no significant differences in germinability between the two varieties, although leafless peas imbibed more rapidly than the leafed ones did. Monocultures of leafed and leafless peas were established at two densities: plants grown alone in small pots and plants grown at 576 m-2. Time emergence was noted, and plant shape, biomass and seed production were measured at two-week intervals for ten weeks. Seedlings emerged continually over an eight-day period, and two cohorts of seedlings were distinguished (seedlings emerging 6-7 days after planting, and seedlings emerging >7 days after planting). Dominance and suppression were observed in the high-density populations, and early-emerging plants had less hierarchical biomass distributions than did late-emerging ones. Although leafless peas were larger and suffered less mortality than leafed ones did at identical densities, there were no differences in the degree of size inequality between the two genotypes (emergence cohorts pooled), or within emergence cohorts between genotypes. The degree of size inequality increased with time among dominant individuals and decreased with time among suppressed individuals. These results broadly support Weiner and Thomas's (1986) hypothesis that plant form may affect the extent but not the existence of competitive asymmetry in plant populations.

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