Effects of resources and herbivory on leaf morphology and physiology of Chinese tallow (Sapium sebiferum) tree seedlings
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Chinese tallow (Sapium sebiferum) is a major woody invader in a variety of ecosystems throughout the southeastern United States. This study was conducted to examine the effects of different levels of resources and herbivory on the growth and physiology of Chinese tallow leaves. Chinese tallow tree seedlings were grown outdoors in pots for fifteen weeks under experimental combinations of shade, nitrogen and simulated herbivory. All of the seedlings survived and grew vigorously under a variety of shade, nitrogen and herbivory conditions. Shade and nitrogen manipulations had the greatest effects on leaf growth and physiology. Stomatal conductance was significantly decreased by increasing levels of shade and tended to decrease with added nitrogen. Leaf area and number of new leaves were greater in shaded conditions than in full sunlight. Increased amounts of nitrogen increased average leaf area, leaf number, and leaf mass. Petiole lengths also significantly increased with higher levels of nitrogen and shade. Surprisingly, simulated herbivory did not significantly affect any of the leaf parameters measured. This study has demonstrated that Chinese tallow is capable of thriving under a number of environmental conditions and, in addition to previous research showing resistance to most native herbivores, that it is extremely tolerant of herbivory leaf damage. Combined, these factors increase the success of Chinese tallow as an invasive species and will complicate the development of an effective management strategy.
author list (cited authors)
Rogers, W. E., Nijjer, S., Smith, C. L., & Siemann, E.
complete list of authors
Rogers, WE||Nijjer, S||Smith, CL||Siemann, E