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Temperature-related sex allocation shifts in a recovering keystone species, Pinus palustris

Formally Refereed
Authors: Qinfeng Guo, Dale G. Brockway, Xiongwen Chen
Year: 2017
Type: Scientific Journal
Station: Southern Research Station
Source: Plant Ecology & Diversity


Background : The possible effects of climate change on sex allocation of a species have recently emerged as a topic of interest, relative to population sustainability via natural regeneration. Also, the universality of pollen limitation for reproduction and how climate may in fl uence it in different taxonomic groups remain to be explored. Aims : The aim of this study was to examine how climate fl uctuation may affect sex allocation in Pinus palustris . Methods : We used a long-term observational data on P. palustris (1957 – 2014), including pollen, female conelets and cone production. Results : We found that, unlike cone production with its ca. 3-year cycle, (1) pollen (male) and unfertilised conelet (female) production did not exhibit any temporal cycles, (2) pollen and unfertilised conelet production showed lower variation than cone production, (3) pollen and unfertilised conelet production were positively correlated to one another and to fi nal cone production, (4) an optimal male-to-female sex allocation ratio exists for promoting cone production and (5) sex allocation ratio was positively correlated with temperature. Conclusions : Our fi ndings shed new light on both the reproductive ecology and management of P. palustris ecosystems under changing climates (e.g., through alteration of pollen density and thus the resulting sex allocation).


climate change, cone production, sex ratio, life cycle, longleaf pine, long-term study, pollen limitation, regeneration


Guo, Qinfeng; Brockway, Dale G.; Chen, Xiongwen. 2017. Temperature-related sex allocation shifts in a recovering keystone species, Pinus palustris. Plant Ecology and Diversity. 10(4): 303-310.