Strong host specificity of a root hemi-parasite (Santalum acuminatum) limits its local distribution: beggars can be choosers

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Abstract

Aims: Santalum acuminatum (quandong) is a root hemi-parasite with a very wide distribution across southern Australia. Despite its very wide distribution, along the Jurien Bay chronosequence, it only occurs on the young Quindalup dunes, and it is absent on older dunes. The soils and local vegetation community change across the 10 km chronosequence, with higher species diversity correlated with lower soil phosphorus (P) levels. Here, we aimed to test whether the distribution of quandong on the dune systems can be explained by different neighbours (potential hosts) or different soil P concentrations across the chronosequence. Methods: Quandongs were grown in pots with 18 potential hosts for a year at three P levels, reflecting conditions across the chronosequence. Hemi-parasite growth and neighbour response were measured through the assessment of biomass, root mass ratios, haustorial size and frequency, δ 15 N and δ 13 C isotope signatures, as well as amino acid composition of xylem sap. Results: Effects of neighbour species on the growth of quandongs were stronger when they were paired with Acacia saligna than when grown with other legumes and non-legumes, indicating strong host specificity. Quandong growth with all other species was significantly less than when grown with A. saligna or without a host, indicating strong competition with a conspecific neighbour. Soil P concentration had little effect on quandong growth. Conclusion: Host specificity and competition from non-hosts comprise main drivers for the distribution of quandong across the Jurien Bay chronosequence, rather than soil P availability. Our results show the importance of host specificity and how it may restrict the distribution of hemi-parasitic plants in different plant communities along a steep ecological gradient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-177
Number of pages19
JournalPlant and Soil
Volume437
Issue number1-2
Early online date9 Feb 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

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Santalum acuminatum
hemiparasite
host specificity
chronosequences
chronosequence
parasites
dunes
Acacia saligna
dune
soil
parasitic plant
parasitic plants
xylem
amino acid composition
sap
plant community
plant communities
species diversity
isotopes
legumes

Cite this

@article{6f0d0f6574634a42ad567dae355fa9fc,
title = "Strong host specificity of a root hemi-parasite (Santalum acuminatum) limits its local distribution: beggars can be choosers",
abstract = "Aims: Santalum acuminatum (quandong) is a root hemi-parasite with a very wide distribution across southern Australia. Despite its very wide distribution, along the Jurien Bay chronosequence, it only occurs on the young Quindalup dunes, and it is absent on older dunes. The soils and local vegetation community change across the 10 km chronosequence, with higher species diversity correlated with lower soil phosphorus (P) levels. Here, we aimed to test whether the distribution of quandong on the dune systems can be explained by different neighbours (potential hosts) or different soil P concentrations across the chronosequence. Methods: Quandongs were grown in pots with 18 potential hosts for a year at three P levels, reflecting conditions across the chronosequence. Hemi-parasite growth and neighbour response were measured through the assessment of biomass, root mass ratios, haustorial size and frequency, δ 15 N and δ 13 C isotope signatures, as well as amino acid composition of xylem sap. Results: Effects of neighbour species on the growth of quandongs were stronger when they were paired with Acacia saligna than when grown with other legumes and non-legumes, indicating strong host specificity. Quandong growth with all other species was significantly less than when grown with A. saligna or without a host, indicating strong competition with a conspecific neighbour. Soil P concentration had little effect on quandong growth. Conclusion: Host specificity and competition from non-hosts comprise main drivers for the distribution of quandong across the Jurien Bay chronosequence, rather than soil P availability. Our results show the importance of host specificity and how it may restrict the distribution of hemi-parasitic plants in different plant communities along a steep ecological gradient.",
keywords = "Haustoria, Parasite ecology, Parasite-host interactions, Plant hemi-parasite, Quandong, Root hemi-parasite, Santalaceae, Santalum acuminatum",
author = "Nge, {Francis J.} and Kosala Ranathunge and Lukasz Kotula and Cawthray, {Gregory R.} and Hans Lambers",
year = "2019",
month = "4",
doi = "10.1007/s11104-019-03966-6",
language = "English",
volume = "437",
pages = "159--177",
journal = "Plant and Soil: An International Journal on Plant-Soil Relationships",
issn = "0032-079X",
publisher = "Springer",
number = "1-2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Strong host specificity of a root hemi-parasite (Santalum acuminatum) limits its local distribution

T2 - beggars can be choosers

AU - Nge, Francis J.

AU - Ranathunge, Kosala

AU - Kotula, Lukasz

AU - Cawthray, Gregory R.

AU - Lambers, Hans

PY - 2019/4

Y1 - 2019/4

N2 - Aims: Santalum acuminatum (quandong) is a root hemi-parasite with a very wide distribution across southern Australia. Despite its very wide distribution, along the Jurien Bay chronosequence, it only occurs on the young Quindalup dunes, and it is absent on older dunes. The soils and local vegetation community change across the 10 km chronosequence, with higher species diversity correlated with lower soil phosphorus (P) levels. Here, we aimed to test whether the distribution of quandong on the dune systems can be explained by different neighbours (potential hosts) or different soil P concentrations across the chronosequence. Methods: Quandongs were grown in pots with 18 potential hosts for a year at three P levels, reflecting conditions across the chronosequence. Hemi-parasite growth and neighbour response were measured through the assessment of biomass, root mass ratios, haustorial size and frequency, δ 15 N and δ 13 C isotope signatures, as well as amino acid composition of xylem sap. Results: Effects of neighbour species on the growth of quandongs were stronger when they were paired with Acacia saligna than when grown with other legumes and non-legumes, indicating strong host specificity. Quandong growth with all other species was significantly less than when grown with A. saligna or without a host, indicating strong competition with a conspecific neighbour. Soil P concentration had little effect on quandong growth. Conclusion: Host specificity and competition from non-hosts comprise main drivers for the distribution of quandong across the Jurien Bay chronosequence, rather than soil P availability. Our results show the importance of host specificity and how it may restrict the distribution of hemi-parasitic plants in different plant communities along a steep ecological gradient.

AB - Aims: Santalum acuminatum (quandong) is a root hemi-parasite with a very wide distribution across southern Australia. Despite its very wide distribution, along the Jurien Bay chronosequence, it only occurs on the young Quindalup dunes, and it is absent on older dunes. The soils and local vegetation community change across the 10 km chronosequence, with higher species diversity correlated with lower soil phosphorus (P) levels. Here, we aimed to test whether the distribution of quandong on the dune systems can be explained by different neighbours (potential hosts) or different soil P concentrations across the chronosequence. Methods: Quandongs were grown in pots with 18 potential hosts for a year at three P levels, reflecting conditions across the chronosequence. Hemi-parasite growth and neighbour response were measured through the assessment of biomass, root mass ratios, haustorial size and frequency, δ 15 N and δ 13 C isotope signatures, as well as amino acid composition of xylem sap. Results: Effects of neighbour species on the growth of quandongs were stronger when they were paired with Acacia saligna than when grown with other legumes and non-legumes, indicating strong host specificity. Quandong growth with all other species was significantly less than when grown with A. saligna or without a host, indicating strong competition with a conspecific neighbour. Soil P concentration had little effect on quandong growth. Conclusion: Host specificity and competition from non-hosts comprise main drivers for the distribution of quandong across the Jurien Bay chronosequence, rather than soil P availability. Our results show the importance of host specificity and how it may restrict the distribution of hemi-parasitic plants in different plant communities along a steep ecological gradient.

KW - Haustoria

KW - Parasite ecology

KW - Parasite-host interactions

KW - Plant hemi-parasite

KW - Quandong

KW - Root hemi-parasite

KW - Santalaceae

KW - Santalum acuminatum

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85061323579&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s11104-019-03966-6

DO - 10.1007/s11104-019-03966-6

M3 - Article

VL - 437

SP - 159

EP - 177

JO - Plant and Soil: An International Journal on Plant-Soil Relationships

JF - Plant and Soil: An International Journal on Plant-Soil Relationships

SN - 0032-079X

IS - 1-2

ER -