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Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências

Print version ISSN 0001-3765On-line version ISSN 1678-2690

Abstract

SOUZA, Marcelo C. de; BUENO, Paula C.P.; MORELLATO, Leonor P.C.  and  HABERMANN, Gustavo. Ecological strategies of Al-accumulating and non-accumulating functional groups from the cerrado sensu stricto. An. Acad. Bras. Ciênc. [online]. 2015, vol.87, n.2, pp.813-823.  Epub June 09, 2015. ISSN 0001-3765.  https://doi.org/10.1590/0001-3765201520140222.

The cerrado's flora comprises aluminum-(Al) accumulating and non-accumulating plants, which coexist on acidic and Al-rich soils with low fertility. Despite their existence, the ecological importance or biological strategies of these functional groups have been little explored. We evaluated the leaf flushing patterns of both groups throughout a year; leaf concentrations of N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Al, total flavonoids and polyphenols; as well as the specific leaf area (SLA) on young and mature leaves within and between the groups. In Al-accumulating plants, leaf flushed throughout the year, mainly in May and September; for non-accumulating plants, leaf flushing peaked at the dry-wet seasons transition. However, these behaviors could not be associated with strategies for building up concentrations of defense compounds in leaves of any functional groups. Al-accumulating plants showed low leaf nutrient concentrations, while non-accumulating plants accumulated more macronutrients and produced leaves with high SLA since the juvenile leaf phase. This demonstrates that the increase in SLA is slower in Al-accumulating plants that are likely to achieve SLA values comparable to the rest of the plant community only in the wet season, when sunlight capture is important for the growth of new branches.

Keywords : aluminum; community; herbivory; mineral nutrition; phenology; specific leaf area.

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