Preprint Review Version 3 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The Ecology of Plant Interactions: A Giant with Feet of Clay

Version 1 : Received: 21 September 2020 / Approved: 22 September 2020 / Online: 22 September 2020 (10:39:16 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 14 January 2021 / Approved: 15 January 2021 / Online: 15 January 2021 (12:37:06 CET)
Version 3 : Received: 10 February 2022 / Approved: 17 February 2022 / Online: 17 February 2022 (19:37:10 CET)

How to cite: Cabal, C.; Valladares, F.; Martinez-Garcia, R. The Ecology of Plant Interactions: A Giant with Feet of Clay. Preprints 2020, 2020090520 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202009.0520.v3). Cabal, C.; Valladares, F.; Martinez-Garcia, R. The Ecology of Plant Interactions: A Giant with Feet of Clay. Preprints 2020, 2020090520 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202009.0520.v3).

Abstract

Ecologists use the net biotic interactions among plants to predict fundamental ecosystem features. Following this approach, ecologists have built a giant body of theory founded on observational evidence. However, due to the limitations that a phenomenological approach raises both in empirical and theoretical studies, an increasing number of scientists claim the need for a mechanistic understanding of plant interaction outcomes, and a few studies have taken such a mechanistic approach. In this synthesis, we propose a modeling framework to study the plant interaction mechanistically. We first establish a conceptual ground to frame plant-plant interactions, and then, we propose to formalize this research line theoretically developing a family of individual-based, spatially-explicit models in which biotic interactions are an emergent property mediated by the interaction between plants’ functional traits and the environment. These models allow researchers to evaluate the strength and sign of biotic interactions under different environmental scenarios and thus constitute a powerful tool to investigate the mechanisms underlying facilitation, species coexistence, or the formation of vegetation spatial patterns.

Keywords

plant-plant interactions; stress gradient hypothesis; functional trait ecology; inter-plant distance; individual-based models; consumer-resource models

Subject

BIOLOGY, Ecology

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 17 February 2022
Commenter: Ciro Cabal
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: Author
Comment: Edits based in recent peer review comments received.
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