Brenda B. Casper

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Belowground competition occurs when plants decrease the growth, survival, or fecundity of neighbors by reducing available soil resources. Competition belowground can be stronger and involve many more neighbors than aboveground competition. Physiological ecologists and population or community ecologists have traditionally studied belowground competition from(More)
Evolution drives, and is driven by, demography. A genotype moulds its phenotype's age patterns of mortality and fertility in an environment; these two patterns in turn determine the genotype's fitness in that environment. Hence, to understand the evolution of ageing, age patterns of mortality and reproduction need to be compared for species across the tree(More)
Plants can alter biotic and abiotic soil characteristics in ways that feedback to change the performance of that same plant species relative to co-occurring plants. Most evidence for this plant-soil feedback comes from greenhouse studies of potted plants, and consequently, little is known about the importance of feedback in relation to other biological(More)
Few studies of phenotypic selection have focused on physiological traits, especially in natural populations. The adaptive significance of plant water-use efficiency, the ratio of photosynthesis to water loss through transpiration, has rarely been examined. In this study, carbon isotopic discrimination, Δ, an integrated measure of water-use efficiency, was(More)
© The Ecological Society of America www.frontiersinecology.org E as a science began well over a century ago, when it was based primarily on observational studies (McIntosh 1985). Toward the end of the 20th century, this led to a more experimental, reductionist approach, focused on testing hypotheses and developing theories. Controlled manipulative(More)
Desert species respond strongly to infrequent, intense pulses of precipitation. Consequently, indigenous flora has developed a rich repertoire of life-history strategies to deal with fluctuations in resource availability. Examinations of how future climate change will affect the biota often forecast negative impacts, but these-usually correlative-approaches(More)
Plants can alter soil properties in ways that feed back to affect plant performance. The extent that plant-soil feedback affects co-occurring plant species differentially will determine its impact on plant community structure. Whether feedback operates consistently across similar plant communities is little studied. Here, the same grasses from two eastern(More)
Plant/soil microbial community feedback can have important consequences for species composition of both the plant and soil microbial communities, however, changes in nutrient availability may alter plant reliance on mycorrhizal fungi. In this research, we tested whether plant/soil community feedback occurs and if increased soil fertility altered the(More)
The demographic consequences of a severe drought year were examined for two experimental plantings of the herbaceous desert perennial Cryptantha flava(Boraginaceae) in northeastern Utah, United States. A total of 6680 nutlets were planted individually or in clusters of four both under shrubs and in open microhabitats within two natural populations.(More)
The range of ecological roles exhibited by arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi depends on functional differences among naturally occurring local assemblages of AM species. While functional differences have been demonstrated among AM fungal species and among geographic isolates of the same species, almost nothing is known about functional differences among(More)