Plant Competition

Plant Competition - Intraspecific and Interspecific...

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Intraspecific and Interspecific Competition of Triticum aestivum and Brassica juncea Anthony M. Cavallaro Biology 108 Section 4 15 April 2008
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Cavallaro 2 Introduction A community can be defined as an environment where a group of organisms live in close enough proximity to provide the potential for interaction between them (Campbell & Reece, 2005). The interactions these individuals share can range from mutualism, where both parties benefit, to neutralism, where neither organism is affected by the other. Competition, the most common interaction, occurs when these individuals struggle to obtain for such resources as light, space, water, and nutrients (Dept. EEB, 2008). Competition takes place largely when the specific resource is limited and therefore is not found in sufficient amounts to support all the individuals that need it. There are two primary forms of competition (Wilson & Bossert, 1971). Intraspecific competition occurs when individuals of the same species are competing. This can be seen when more than one of the same organism is present in a community, and because they both need the same resources, they prevent each other from reaching full potential, whether it be developmental or reproductive. Interspecific competition, on the other hand, occurs among individuals of different species. We generally see this when resources are in a limited supply and therefore cannot fully support the volume of individuals that require them. Because plants all require solar energy, root space, and nutrients from their soil, they will be competing for them (Dice, 1952). This plant competition generally results in reduced yield of seeds or underdevelopment of either one or both of the competing plants. If competition is strong enough, it can lead to the elimination of one or more of the competing species from the said area. In this experiment we will assess the effects of competition between Triticum aestivum , a species of wheat, and Brassica juncea , a species of mustard, on the growth of each of these species. These two species are fitted for this experiment because of their complementary
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Cavallaro 3 characteristics. T. aestivum is a monocot, while B. juncea is a eudicot (Campbell & Reece, 2005). Furthermore, based on this difference, we will be able to infer the type of root system that is best suited to succeed in this controlled environment (Dept. EEB, 2008). Monocots have a fibrous root system, while eudicots have large taproots. In densely populated environments, a fibrous root system would prevail. Finally, these plants are also representatives of a crop-weed relationship. Wheat is a cultivated crop while mustard is a weed. This will allow the experiment to make inferences as to whether a crop plant is better suited to compete with a weed, as is commonly hypothesized. In this experiment we tested the effects of intraspecific competition on both mustard and
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This note was uploaded on 11/16/2011 for the course BIOL 107 taught by Professor Abbot during the Spring '08 term at UConn.

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Plant Competition - Intraspecific and Interspecific...

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