Within a year of abandoning agriculture on a plot of prairie, the previously bare soil is overrun with annual weeds. Light, carbon dioxide, and mineral nutrients are readily available, but soil moisture is limiting. Still, some species appear to coexist very close to one another. Upon closer examination, two such species, smartweed and bristly foxglove, are observed to have very different root systems and ways of managing water. Smartweed has a very deep taproot, extending about a meter beneath the surface, tapping (literally) into a continuous deep water supply. Bristly foxtail has a much shallower and spreading fibrous root system, reaching less than 20 cm down. However, the latter plant is able to tolerate periods of drought and rapidly take up water after a rain. This example is a clea

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    intraspecific competition
    a keystone species
    competitive exclusion
    resource partitioning

asked May 30, 2013 in Biology by anonymous

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resource partitioning
answered May 31, 2013 by Bioshare ~Top Expert~ (34,070 points)

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