Effects of disturbance regime on carbohydrate reserves in meadow plants

Fieldwork on dry meadow in the Bílé Karpaty Mountains.
Fieldwork on dry meadow in the Bílé Karpaty Mountains.

Carbohydrate storage enables plants to both tolerate seasonally unfavourable conditions and recover from disturbance. Although short-term changes in storage levels due to disturbance are fairly well-known, less is known about long-term changes in storage levels, especially in response to cessation of repeated disturbance such as mowing. In a new study published in AoB PLANTS, Janeček et al. found that plants in unmown meadows are able to store large amounts of carbohydrates. These stores, however, become depleted during winter and/or spring and thus do not differ from levels in mown plots at the peak of the next growing season. They also found that although carbohydrate concentrations initially reflect the carbohydrate mobilization needed for resprouting in response to plant damage and subsequently reflect the refilling of reserves thereby expended, the total carbohydrate amounts are affected by the growth of storage organs. Although concentrations and total amounts of carbohydrates reflect different aspects of plant carbohydrate storage, their concentration might sufficiently describe the short-term effects of disturbance.

1 comment

  1. An interesting ecophysiology report. Pity that the Blog fails to adhere to some reasonable scientific terminology and units. What are these “levels” that are so frequently mentioned? If concentration in dry matter or per unit leaf area or if amount per organ or plant please say so, Otherwise the report becomes meaningless. This is not being pedantic, science depends on precision otherwise it is nothing. See D.W. Lawlor, “LEVEL LANGUAGE”, Trends in plant science, 1(7), 1996, pp. 213-213. Available on Research Gate

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