Integration in a clonal woody shrub, Vaccinium stamineum
Duval, William Ludwig
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The integration of clonal plants can have important consequences for plant interactions; however, there are relatively few studies that address this issue. In fact, many studies of plant interactions that include clonal plants have actually used individual ramets and have ignored integration completely. Most studies of clonality also involve herbaceous species, with many fewer studies utilizing woody species. Given the dearth of studies on woody species and clonal integration, it is important to address these issues. Clonal integration in Vaccinium stamineum was examined through a series of field experiments that addressed the following questions: 1) Does resource sharing actively occur? 2) Does clonal integration alter the competitive ability of the study species? 3) Does clonal integration alter the study species’ ability to utilize resources? 4) Does clonal integration increase the ability of V. stamineum to respond to simulated disturbance? The findings from these experiments suggest that integration plays an important role in growth and reproduction in Vaccinium stamineum in the sandhills of the southeastern United States.