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Open Access item IIndividual differenes in progeny viability in Lavandula latifolia: a long.term field study

Authors:Herrera, Carlos M.
Keywords:Lavandula latifolia, maternal differences, Mediterranean, parent X environment interaction, progeny viability, seedling emergence rate, seedling survivorship
Issue Date:Nov-2000
Publisher:Ecological Society of America
Citation:Ecology, 81(11), 2000, pp. 3036–3047
Abstract:Despite its potential importance as a source of fitness variation in natural plant populations, few studies have so far examined long-term patterns of individual dif- ferences in progeny viability under natural conditions. This paper reports on a six-year field study on the differences in progeny viability (defined here as the probability of seeds contributing an established, prereproductive juvenile to the population), and its two com- ponents (seedling emergence and seedling sur vivorship), for the Mediterranean evergreen shrub Lavandula latifolia. The main objectives of the study were (1) to assess whether individual plants actually differ in the viability of their progeny under natural conditions, and (2) to determine if naturally occurring levels of variation in viability may modify individual differences in fecundity. Seed progenies from 14 maternal parents belonging to one population were sown at 10 field sites differing broadly in habitat type and soil char- acteristics, and seedling emergence and sur vival subsequently were monitored for six years. Maternal parents differed significantly in progeny viability because of both differential seedling emergence and seedling sur vivorship, and variation in either of these parameters was not significantly related to maternal differences in seed size. Differences in seedling sur vivorship were more important than differences in seedling emergence as determinants of maternal variation in progeny viability. While individual differences in seedling emer- gence remained consistent across sowing sites, there was a strong parent X sowing site interaction on seedling sur vivorship, and the rank of maternal parents with regard to this variable varied erratically among sowing sites. A significant inverse relationship existed across maternal parents between seed production and progeny viability, which was not mediated by differences in seed size, thus suggesting a trade-off between the number and quality of the progeny produced by L. latifolia plants. Although maternal differences in seed production were about twice as important as differences in progeny viability in de- termining maternal differences in juvenile recruitment, viability differences should not be disregarded a priori as unimportant sources of fitness differences. Results of this study stress the importance of conducting long-term, direct field assessments of individual dif- ferences in progeny viability across a range of environments encompassing the conditions actually faced by the species
Publisher version (URL):http://www.esajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1890/0012-9658%282000%29081%5B3036%3AIDIPVI%5D2.0.CO%3B2
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