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  1. Abstract

    The maintenance of tree diversity has been explained by multiple mechanisms. One of the most thoroughly studied is conspecific negative density dependence, in which specialist plant enemies reduce survivorship of seeds, seedlings or saplings located near adult conspecifics. Although there is much support that conspecific negative density dependence occurs in temperate forests, only a subset of the species investigated thus far exhibit this recruitment pattern. It remains unclear what drives differential susceptibility to conspecifics among tree species. Previous investigators have considered shade tolerance and mycorrhizal type (arbuscular mycorrhizal vs. ectomycorrhizal association) as two traits that might explain differential susceptibility to conspecific negative density dependence.

    Here, we test whether these two plant traits predict susceptibility of tree saplings to conspecific negative density dependence in a temperate hardwood forest using three responses: spatial point patterns of saplings, sapling growth and sapling survival.

    Spatial patterns of saplings indicate that shade tolerant species are less sensitive to conspecifics than shade intolerant species, but show no differences based on mycorrhizal type. Conversely, shade tolerant saplings exhibit reduced growth, but not survival, when located in areas with high conspecific density. We interpret this finding in light of the conservative functional strategies of shade tolerant species, which typically have low leaf nitrogen levels and slower growth to divert resources to tissue defence against enemies. We found an effect of mycorrhizal type interacting with adult conspecific density, where arbuscular mycorrhizal species show a greater reduction in growth than ectomycorrhizal species in areas dense with conspecifics.

    Synthesis. We conclude that the shade tolerance level and the mycorrhizal type of temperate forest saplings may influence how their growth and survival respond to the adult conspecific trees in their neighbourhoods.

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  2. Abstract

    Soft robots have attracted attention for biomedical and consumer devices. However, most of these robots are pneumatically actuated, requiring a tether and thus limiting wearable applications that require multiple controlled actuators. By pairing liquid‐vapor phase change actuation with a textile‐based laminated manufacturing method, smart thermally actuating textiles (STATs) eliminate the need for a pneumatic tether. STATs are lightweight and unobtrusive for wearable applications and exploit a facile manufacturing approach that supports arbitrary customization of the form factor and easy creation of connected arrays of individual robotic modules. Through integrated sensing and heating elements, STATs demonstrate closed‐loop feedback that enables dynamic pressure control in the presence of environmental temperature fluctuations.

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