Role of intraspecific trait plasticity in Mikania micrantha Kunth growth and impact of its abundance on community composition

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Journal of Asia-Pacific Biodiversity


Intraspecific trait variability, which plays an important role in community assembly, was studied in an invasive plant Mikania micrantha along with its impact on community composition. The abundance of M. micrantha and community composition were recorded in a quadrat-based study conducted on a spatial (littoral, terrestrial, and an intermediate habitat) and temporal (summer, monsoon, and winter) scale. Soil parameters were analyzed and some fitness-related traits of M. micrantha were estimated. Season and habitat had significant effects on M. micrantha abundance. Seasonal plasticity was evident in leaf-level traits. High laminar nitrogen and leaf dry matter content during the monsoons and a larger leaf area with high chlorophyll content during summer and winter months were responsible for maintenance of its yearlong growth. Multivariate regression analysis revealed that, after adjusting for season and habitat, none of the traits exhibited significant effect on M. micrantha abundance. Abundance of M. micrantha appeared to be the only factor responsible for decline in associated species richness. Continuous monitoring of the established population and early detection of new infestations of M. micrantha are recommended to keep a check on excessive growths to prevent it from becoming problematic in subtropical regions of the world.

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Open Access, Gold

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