|Support type:||Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate|
|Effective date (Start):||January 01, 2013|
|Effective date (End):||September 30, 2013|
|Field of knowledge:||Biological Sciences - Ecology|
|Principal Investigator:||Paulo Inácio de Knegt López de Prado|
|Grantee:||Camila de Toledo Castanho|
|Home Institution:||Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil|
Plant interactions can be negative (competition) or positive (facilitation). Although it is broadly accepted that both interactions can occur simultaneously between interacting plants, the conditions under which one type of interaction prevails are not well understood. Some studies have suggested the importance of interacting species traits and environmental stress to determine net interactions. However, the importance of these factors on net interactions has never been tested through a quantitative synthesis of the large body of evidence accumulated so far. The coastal sand dune vegetation (also called restinga in Brazil) has potentially limiting conditions for plant performance, such as low availability of water and nutrients in the soil, presence of salt in soil and sea spray, and intense wind exposure. Several studies have found evidences that, in coastal dunes, plants can ameliorate the conditions and resources availability in their surroundings, facilitating the performance of their neighboring plants. On the other hand, a number of other studies have found competition as the predominant interaction between plants, suggesting that the net interaction of plants in coastal dunes is context-dependent. The contradiction among the results, as well as the volume of accumulated studies makes the coastal dunes a extremely suitable system to test, through a quantitative synthesis, if factors related to the traits of interacting species and environmental condition explain the variation in the net interaction found across different studies. Therefore, our main objective in this proposal is to investigate, using meta-analysis techniques, which is the predominant interaction between coastal dune plants on a worldwide scale; and if the following factors affect the net interactions: i) life stage of the target plant; ii) life form of the target plant; iii) life form of the neighboring plant and iv) environmental stress. The results of this proposal will allow us to better understand how the balance between competition and facilitation vary in time and space, and also presents practical implications by providing information to support the selection of species and conditions best suited to promote facilitation between plants in restoration of coastal sand dunes.