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Flower phenology as a disruptor of the fruiting dynamics in temperate oak species

Abstract : Many perennial plants display masting, that is, fruiting with strong interannual variations, irregular and synchronized between trees within the population. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the early flower phenology in temperate oak species promotes stochasticity into their fruiting dynamics, which could play a major role in tree reproductive success. From a large field monitoring network, we compared the pollen phenology between temperate and Mediterranean oak species. Then, focusing on temperate oak species, we explored the influence of the weather around the time of budburst and flowering on seed production, and simulated with a mechanistic model the consequences that an evolutionary shifting of flower phenology would have on fruiting dynamics. Temperate oak species release pollen earlier in the season than do Mediterranean oak species. Such early flowering in temperate oak species results in pollen often being released during unfavorable weather conditions and frequently results in reproductive failure. If pollen release were delayed as a result of natural selection, fruiting dynamics would exhibit much reduced stochastic variation. We propose that early flower phenology might be adaptive by making mast-seeding years rare and unpredictable, which would greatly help in controlling the dynamics of seed consumers.
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Contributor : Stéphane Dray Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, October 22, 2019 - 12:46:10 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 18, 2022 - 4:26:01 AM


Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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Éliane Schermer, Marie-Claude Bel-Venner, Jean‐michel Gaillard, Vincent Boulanger, Stéphane Dray, et al.. Flower phenology as a disruptor of the fruiting dynamics in temperate oak species. New Phytologist, 2019, 225 (3), pp.1181-1192. ⟨10.1111/nph.16224⟩. ⟨hal-02325817⟩



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