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Abstract Detail

Ecological Section

Sinclair, Jordan [1], Freeman, Carl [2].

The Pattern of Dioecy in Terrestrial, Temperate Plant Succession.

Dioecious plants have been highly studied theoretically and empirically with regards to inbreeding depression, spatial segregation of the sexes, sex ratios, flower development, and environmental interactions. In this study we examined five long-term studies of succession in various environments to determine when and in what proportion dioecious species appear. A priori we expected dioecious species to appear late in succession, based on correlates to woody life form and an inbreeding avoidance paradigm. What we discovered however, is that the number of dioecious species at a disturbed site tends to decrease with successional stage, which implies that their ecological role occurs in the colonizing stage. Given this, we infer that dioecious species dispersal mechanisms are important, as early colonizers must be able to reach and establish in newly disturbed sites, often through dispersal advantages. This challenges the current paradigm which assumes that because dioecious species have given up one sexual function, they must make up for this loss of fitness - namely through offspring quality. It is therefore expected that dioecious species are good competitors, which would classify them as k-selected species, and appearing later in succession. Our analysis shows that this is not the case.

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1 - Wayne State University, Biology, 5047 Gullen Mall, Detroit, MI, 48202, USA, 3139488516
2 - Wayne State Univ, Dept. Biological Science, 1360 Biological Sciences, Detroit, MI, 48202, USA


Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Battelle South/Convention Center
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2012
Time: 5:45 PM
Number: PEC017
Abstract ID:382

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