The effect of density on the growth, recruitment of new ramets, biomass allocation, rhizome spacer length and rhizome branching of the submersed macrophyte Potamogeton perfoliatus L. was experimentally evaluated in a mesocosm with three different initial shoot densities. The findings suggest that the number of primary shoots available in the beginning of the season can strongly influence patterns of growth and clonal reproduction. In contrast to many studies that found decreasing production parameters with plant density, ramet and biomass production of Potamogeton perfoliatus plants were highest at medium plant density. This is probably due to negative feed-back through crowding at high density and unclear negative effects at low density. Shoot allocation tended to increase with density, rhizome allocation tended to decrease with density and root biomass remained unchanged. At low density Potamogeton perfoliatus produced longer rhizome spacers and more branchings than at higher densities. Shorter rhizome spacers at high plant density probably restrict patch expansion and cause discrete patch shapes. A likely mechanism for plastic changes in clonal architecture is increasing competition for light at increasing density, but other density-dependent factors may also contribute. Investigations on propagule numbers of tubers and turions show that self-regulation of ramet number was associated with self-regulation of propagule number in both Potamogeton perfoliatus and Potamogeton pectinatus, with higher densities producing less propagules per plant.
Wolfer, S. R., & Straile, D. (2004). Density control in Potamogeton perfoliatus L. and Potamogeton pectinatus L. Limnologica, 34(1–2), 98–104. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0075-9511(04)80027-6