272 pages, Figs
Allelochemicals play a great role in managed and natural ecosystems. Apart from plant growth (allelopathy), allelochemicals may also influence nutrient dynamics, mycorrhizae, soil chemical characteristics and microbial ecology. Synergistic action of various factors may better explain plant growth and distribution in natural systems. The book emphasizes the role of allelochemicals in shaping the structure of plant communities in a broader ecological perspective. The book addresses the following questions: (1) How do allelochemicals influence different components of the ecosystem in terms of shaping community structure? (2) Why is it difficult to demonstrate interference by allelochemicals (i.e. allelopathy) in a natural system in its entirety? In spite of a large amount of existing literature on allelopathy, why are ecologists still sceptical about the existence of allelopathy in nature? (3) Why are there only scarce data on aquatic ecosystems? (4) What role do allelochemicals play in microbial ecology? And how does altered soil microbial ecology influence community structure and fate of allelochemicals? (5) What role do allelochemicals play in nutrient dynamics in terms of final influence on plant growth and distribution? (6) How do abiotic and biotic factors of an ecosystem influence the functioning of allelochemicals? (7) What are the main pitfalls in presentation, analysis and interpretation of allelochemical data?
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