Reproductive consequences of mate quantity versus mate diversity in a wind-pollinated plant

Katrien Vandepitte, Isabel Roldan-Ruiz, Olivier Honnay

    Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftA1: Web of Science-artikelpeer review


    Since most pollen travels limited distances in wind-pollinated plants, both the local quantity and diversity of mates may limit female reproductive success. Yet little evidence exists on their relative contribution, despite the importance of viable seed production to population dynamics. To study how variation in female reproductive success is affected by the quantity versus the diversity of surrounding mates contributing pollen, we integrated pollination experiments, data on natural seed set and seed viability, and AFLP genetic marker data in the wind-pollinated dioecious clonal forest herb Mercurialis perennis.

    Pollination experiments indicated weak quantitative pollen limitation effects on seed set. Among-population crosses showed reduced seed viability, suggesting outbreeding depression due to genetic divergence. Pollination with pollen from a single source did not negatively affect reproductive success. These findings were consistent with results of the survey of natural female reproductive success. Seed set decreased with the distance to males in a female plants' local neighborhood, suggesting a shortage of pollen in isolated female plants, and increased with the degree of local genetic diversity. Spatial isolation to other populations and population size did not affect seed set. None of these variables were related to seed viability.

    We conclude that pollen movement in M. perennis is likely very limited. Both male proximity and the local degree of genetic diversity influenced female reproductive success. (C) 2009 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

    Oorspronkelijke taalEngels
    TijdschriftActa Oecologica - International Journal of Ecology
    Pagina's (van-tot)548-553
    Aantal pagina’s6
    PublicatiestatusGepubliceerd - 2009


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