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The importance of plastic responses to water depth as compared to non-plastic (developmental) changes in ramet (consisting of a culm e.g., stem with leaves, rhizome spacers and - tuber, and roots) characteristics of newly established clones of the emergent macrophyte Scirpus maritimus L. was examined. Clones were established from seeds and grown in outdoor ponds at water depths of 0 (waterlogged), 10, 20, and 30 cm. Number and dry weight of ramets were higher at 0 and 10 than at 20 and 30 cm water depth. There was no plastic but a high non-plastic variation in rhizome spacer lengths. In response to water depth culms were longer, but the relative length growth rate of culms and leaf morphology remained unaffected by water depth. Total ramet dry weight did not differ between water depths, but with increasing water depth the proportional allocation of dry matter to stems increased at the expense of roots and rhizome spacers. In sequentially produced ramets dry weight increased, and the proportional dry matter investment in tubers (storage organs) and roots increased at the expense of leaves and rhizome spacers. Plasticity in morphology and biomass allocation of ramets was directed towards a fast emergence from the water. However, no plasticity in ramet and tuber dry weight was apparent. Therefore, the non-plastic rather than the plastic variation in ramet characteristics is of great importance for the persistence of newly established S. maritimus clones after drawdowns. [KEYWORDS: emergent macrophytes; developmental patterns plasticity; biomass allocation Herb glechoma-hederacea; typha-latifolia; var-paludosus; dynamics; plant; reproduction; responses; level; size; submergence]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
JournalAquatic Botany
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998

ID: 312391