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Foliar nutrient-allocation patterns in Banksia attenuata and Banksia sessilis differing in growth rate and adaptation to low-phosphorus habitats
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  • Zhongming Han,
  • Jianmin Shi,
  • Jiayin Pang,
  • Li YanOrcid,
  • Patrick Finnegan,
  • Hans LambersOrcid
Zhongming Han
Jilin Agricultural University
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Jianmin Shi
Jiangxi Agricultural University
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Jiayin Pang
The University of Western Australia
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Li Yan
Orcid
University of Western Australia
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Patrick Finnegan
University of Western Australia
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Hans Lambers
Orcid
The University of Western Australia
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Abstract

We compared the use of phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) in slow-growing Banksia attenuata (Proteaceae), which resprouts after fire and naturally occurs on deep sand, with faster-growing opportunistic B. sessilis, which is killed by fire and occurs on shallow sand over laterite or limestone. We carried out pot experiments with plants on substrates with different P availability. We measured foliar nutrient concentrations, and P allocated to major biochemical fractions. The two species had similar foliar total P concentrations, but distinct patterns of P allocation to P-containing fractions. The foliar total N concentration of B. sessilis was greater than that of B. attenuata on all substrates. The foliar total P and N concentrations in both species decreased with decreasing P availability. The relative growth rate of both species was positively correlated with both foliar nucleic acid P and total N concentrations, but there was no correlation with other P and N fractions. Faster-growing B. sessilis allocated more P to nucleic acids than B. attenuata did, but other fractions were similar. We conclude that the nutrient-allocation patterns in faster-growing opportunistic B. sessilis and slower-growing B. attenuata revealed different strategies in response to soil P availability, which matched their contrasting growth strategy.