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Sex-specific flowering patterns and demography of the understorey rain forest tree Iryanthera hostmannii (Myristicaceae)
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Botany.
2013 (English)In: Tropical Conservation Science, ISSN 1940-0829, Vol. 6, no 5, 637-652 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sexual dimorphism in dioecious plants is a common phenomenon that has received widespread attention, yet the implications for reproductive function and fitness remain poorly understood. Using data from a long-term study of a population of 839 dioecious Iryanthera hostmannii (Myristicaceae 'nutmeg') trees in a large permanent plot in a lowland tropical rain forest, we examined the effects of greater investment in reproduction by females compared to males for various aspects of life history. Although male trees often produced more inflorescences than females, total dry mass of flowers was roughly equal in two out of three years for both sexes, implying that any investment differential lies in fruit production. There was no difference in the 12-year relative growth rate of males and females, suggesting that females can compensate somehow for their greater reproductive investment, although there were weak suggestions that mortality might have been greater in females. Male flowers opened slightly earlier in the day than female flowers and were short-lived, lasting at most two nights compared to up to four nights in females. Understanding the interacting effects of resource availability (studied here) and pollen movement (currently unknown in Iryanthera) on reproduction is essential in terms of life history theory. Knowledge of reproductive biology is key in considering the ecology and conservation of tropical forest communities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 6, no 5, 637-652 p.
Keyword [en]
Amazonian Ecuador, dioecy, nutmeg, phenology, pollination biology, reproductive ecology, Yasuni National Park
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102809ISI: 000332705400004OAI: diva2:713244


Available from: 2014-04-22 Created: 2014-04-22 Last updated: 2014-04-22Bibliographically approved

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Humphreys, Aelys M.
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