To recycle or steal? Nutrient resorption in Australian and Brazilian mistletoes from three low-phosphorus sites

Marina C. Scalon, Ian J. Wright, Augusto C. Franco

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Resorption is the process by which nutrients are withdrawn from leaves prior to leaf fall. Mistletoes are generally thought not to rely on nutrient resorption; being xylem-tapping parasites, they instead derive the nutrients required for new growth from their host plant, at little or no cost. We measured nutrient (N, P, K, Ca, Mg) resorption in 18 parasitic mistletoe–host species pairs distributed across three sites with notably low-P soil, also quantifying relationships with leaf lifespan (LL) and specific leaf area (SLA). There was little or no evidence of N, Ca or Mg resorption. By contrast, on average ∼30% of P and ∼20% of K were resorbed prior to leaf fall. Longer LL in mistletoes was associated with lower N and P concentrations in mistletoes and in host leaves. We provide evidence that, even though mistletoes are relatively inefficient in terms of nutrient resorption compared to non-parasite species, on low-P soils their ecological and evolutionary strategies for conserving phosphorous involve modulation of both leaf lifespan and P concentration in senesced leaves.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)32-39
    Number of pages8
    JournalOikos
    Volume126
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of 'To recycle or steal? Nutrient resorption in Australian and Brazilian mistletoes from three low-phosphorus sites'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this