The Open UniversitySkip to content
 

Plant coexistence and the niche

Silvertown, Jonathan (2004). Plant coexistence and the niche. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 19(11) pp. 605–611.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2004.09.003
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar

Abstract

How large numbers of competing plant species manage to coexist is a major unresolved question in community ecology. The classical explanation, that each species occupies its own niche, seems at first unlikely because most plants require the same set of resources and acquire these in a limited number of ways. However, recent studies, although few in number and incomplete in many ways, do suggest that plants segregate along various environmental niche axes, including gradients of light, soil moisture and root depth, and that partitioning of soil nutrients occurs, possibly through the mediation of microbial symbionts, some of which are more species specific than was previously thought. Although it is unlikely that niche separation along environmental axes is the only mechanism of coexistence in any large community, the evidence now suggests that it plays a more significant role than has been previously appreciated. More research into the consequences of various known tradeoffs is likely to uncover further cases of niche separation facilitating coexistence.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2004 Elsevier Ltd.
ISSN: 0169-5347
Extra Information: Visit the author's home page at http://www.open.ac.uk/science/biosci/personalpages/j.silvertown/index.htm
Keywords: community structure; species-diversity; rain-forest; gap size; interspecific competition; regeneration niche; field- measurements; root distribution; multiple origins; neutral theory
Academic Unit/Department: Science > Environment, Earth and Ecosystems
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research (CEPSAR)
Item ID: 2296
Depositing User: Jonathan Silvertown
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2011 08:26
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/2296
Share this page:

Altmetrics

Scopus Citations

Actions (login may be required)

View Item
Report issue / request change

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340   general-enquiries@open.ac.uk