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Plant and Animal interaction course paper
Whether the predicted positive or negative correlations of RGR with leaf toughness, leaf lifespan and shade tolerance make sense
The predicted positive or negative correlations of RGR with leaf toughness, leaf lifespan and shade tolerance do make sense. This is due to the fact that establishing whether there is a correlation between leaf toughness, leaf lifespan and shade tolerance helps to establish the extent to which different tree species are affected by herbivory. For example, through the stimulated herbivory experiment, the researcher can manage to learn the level of tolerance of various tree seedlings after their leaves were frequently clipped with scissors for approximately 50 % of the total leaf area (Ernesto & Cristian 2). In addition, through the simulated herbivory experiment, the researchers managed to establish the leaf toughness of various tree species, and this helped in learning the extent to which leaves of these tree seedlings can survive after herbivory. Moreover, the simulated herbivory experiment helped the researchers to establish that out of the three plant features that were under study, only the leaf lifespan showed a statistically significant association with resource growth rate. In addition, predicting whether there is a positive or negative correlations of RGR with leaf lifespan, leaf toughness and shade tolerance makes sense since it enables the researchers to establish the manner in which different plant species are adapted to survive in the competitive world. Precisely, different plant species are adapt to withstand environment pressures (such as tolerance to herbivory) in different ways. This is why fast growing plants have high tolerance to herbivory while slow growing plants have low tolerance.
The relationship between RGR and tolerance to herbivory
There is a strong relationship between resource growth rate and tolerance to herbivory. One of the successful theory suggests that the defensive investment of a plant species correlates to the resource growth rate. Precisely, plant species which have a fast growing rate or tissue replacement rate tends to show lower resistance to herbivory (or a higher tolerance to herbivory) and compared to plant species which grow slowly. This is due to the fact that fast growing plant species are capable of replacing lost plant tissues through herbivory at a faster rate compared to the slow growing plant species (Ernesto & Cristian 1). Loss of plant tissues through herbivory or any other way may be detrimental as far as the normal function of the plant or surviving is concerned. On the other hand, slow growing plant species tends to have a lower tolerance to herbivory since losing plant tissues may greatly jeopardize their survival more than the fast growing plant species. As a way of enhancing slow tolerance to herbivory, the slow growing plants tends to have mechanical and chemical defensive mechanisms such as the production of toxic chemicals and having thorns.
Ways in which the paper strongly supports support for the RAF
The paper clearly demonstrates that the resource availability determines the plants defense capabilities. For example, fast growing plant species have a high resource availability and this makes them to have a high rate of tolerance to herbivory. On the other hand, slow growing plant species have less resource availability, and this makes them to have low tolerance to herbivory (Ernesto & Cristian 1-2). The slow growing plant species have mechanical and chemical adaptations which are more advance in order to prevent herbivory. However, the paper fails to mention that there are still fast growing plant species which also have mechanical and chemical adaptations.
Ernesto Gianoli and Cristian Salgado-Luarte. Tolerance to herbivory and the resource availability hypothesis. The Royal Society Publishing. 2017 print. Biol. Lett. 13:20170120. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2017.0120