Effects of sex and altitude on nutrient, and carbon and nitrogen stable isotope composition of the endangered shrub Baccharis concinna G.M. Barroso (Asteraceae)

Acta Botânica Brasílica. 31(2):229-240 DOI 10.1590/0102-33062017abb0020


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Journal Title: Acta Botânica Brasílica

ISSN: 0102-3306 (Print); 1677-941X (Online)

Publisher: Sociedade Botânica do Brasil

Society/Institution: Sociedade Botânica do Brasil, SBB

LCC Subject Category: Science: Botany

Country of publisher: Brazil

Language of fulltext: English

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G. Wilson Fernandes
Heitor Monteiro Duarte
Fernando A. O. Silveira
Fernando Broetto
Ulrich Lüttge
Heinz Rennenberg


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Time From Submission to Publication: 18 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

ABSTRACT Previous ecological studies of dioecious plant species have found that female plants preferentially occur at lower altitudes where there are typically better nutritional conditions, while male plants often occur in less favorable sites. We compared the ecophysiological performance of male and female plants in three populations of the dioecious Baccharis concinna, an endemic species of rupestrian grasslands of Serra do Cipó, in southeastern Brazil. We hypothesized that physiological differences between the sexes would explain the distribution patterns of the populations. Analyses of the tissue content of phosphorus (P), calcium (Ca), potassium (K) and sodium (Na), and carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes, were used to assess nutritional status and water use efficiency (WUE) in plant leaves, stems and roots of male and female plants in three populations located along an elevational gradient. Differences among populations were related to decreased nutrient levels and WUE at higher elevations, but an effect of sex was found only for %C, with male plants having slightly higher values. In conclusion, the sex ratios in the studied populations of B. concinna could not be attributed to differences in nutrient acquisition and WUE.