Plants exhibit exceptionally intelligent behaviour when it comes to interactions with their environment. They can detect perceived threats, then convey warning signals to other plants via chemical signaling. Forewarned plants will then assemble their defenses against these potential threats, thus, increasing their chance of survival and reproduction. Communication and competition are common occurrences among the plant world. Another brilliantly, almost inconceivable capability plants possess is the ability to recognize coexisting family members within their home range. These intelligent life forms realize that if family members compete less with each other by allocation of their resources, their group will do better overall. This is a strategy utilized by many species, especially plants, to eliminate competition within their community in nature (Mancuso 2006).
Competition can occur between members of the same or different species. The involved individuals are negatively affected by other individuals that have the same living requirements, such as food or space. Inter-specific competition transpires when members of different species compete for a particular resource. Intra-specific competition arises when members of the same species compete with one another for a particular resource (Encyclopedia Britannica 2010). In this experiment we concentrate on inter-specific competition.
We measured the effect of competitor density on the growth of plants in order to observe the outcome of inter-specific competition. In set one (of two), our group utilized allelopathic rye grass (Secale cereal L.) as our competitor species. In set two, we made use of non-allelopathic oats (Avena fatua var. sativa) as our competitor spec...
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...ass soil. This demonstrates that a pathogen may influence allelopathy between plants and that rust may enhance ryegrass allelopathy against clover (Mattner 2001).
Our results supported the alternative hypothesis which states that the density and weight of rye or oats (competitor species) had a significant effect on the 1/w of the clover (indicator species) under normal conditions. This proves that non-legumes win when in an inter-specific competition with a legume species and allelopathic chemicals negatively affect indicator species during inter-specific competition (Cain 2008). Errors that could have occurred when designing this experiment include possible uneven distribution light, water, or temperature fluctuations. For future research I would suggest observing the effects of allelopathy and symbiotic bacteria among different legume and non-legume species.
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