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Journal Article

Integrating plant carbon dynamics with mutualism ecology

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Pringle,  Elizabeth G.
Department of Biochemistry, Prof. J. Gershenzon, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Pringle, E. G. (2016). Integrating plant carbon dynamics with mutualism ecology. New Phytologist, 210(1), 71-75. doi:10.1111/nph.13679.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0028-8DE5-4
Abstract
Plants reward microbial and animal mutualists with carbohydrates to obtain nutrients, defense, pollination, and dispersal. Under a fixed carbon budget, plants must allocate carbon to their mutualists at the expense of allocation to growth, reproduction, or storage. Such carbon trade-offs are indirectly expressed when a plant exhibits reduced growth or fecundity in the presence of its mutualist. Because carbon regulates the costs of all plant mutualisms, carbon dynamics are a common platform for integrating these costs in the face of ecological complexity and context dependence. The ecophysiology of whole-plant carbon allocation could thus elucidate the ecology and evolution of plant mutualisms. If mutualisms are costly to plants, then they must be important but frequently underestimated sinks in the terrestrial carbon cycle.