Pollination and seed predation drive flowering phenology in Silene latifolia (Caryophyllaceae)

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Abstract

The development of fruits after pollination places resource demands on plants that may influence the production of subsequent flowers. Pre-dispersal seed-predation, resulting in the destruction of developing seeds, may allow resource reallocation to the production of subsequent flowers. Silene latifolia, the white campion, is subject to predispersal seed predation by noctuid moths. In order to determine the potential for resource reallocation in S: latifolia we conducted a greenhouse experiment in which female plants were subjected to three levels of pollination (0%, 50%, or 100%) and simulated pre-dispersal seed predation (0%, 50%, or 100% of total fruit production). We assigned 10 plants to each of the seven treatments (0% pollinated had no fruit); in total, 1490 flowers were measured for flower size and scored for date of flowering and longevity. Flower size decreased over the course of the experiment. Average daily production was 12.2 flowers per plant on nonpollinated plants, but only 4.3 flowers on 100% pollinated plants. Chi-square results showed that simulated seed predation resulted in additional flowering bouts later in the course of the experiment. Time series analysis showed that the time between flowering bouts was Also influenced by predation. Plants with 0% predation had an average lag time of 29.5 days, whereas plants with 100% simulated seed predation had a lag period of 20.1 days. Flower longevity of non-pollinated flowers increased in plants that had flowers' pollinated but experienced no seed predation. Simulated predation resulted in a decrease in floral longevity. These results suggest that plants reallocate resources to the production of new flowers, after the destruction of fruits; thus, flowering phenology is influenced by pollination and seed predation. The relationship between pollinators and flowering phenology is well accepted; these. results indicate that seed predators play an equally important role in determining flowering phenology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2062-2073
Number of pages12
JournalEcology
Volume84
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003

Keywords

  • Caryophyllaceae
  • flowering phenology
  • pollination
  • seed predation
  • Silene latifolia
  • time series analysis
  • white campion
  • SEXUAL DIMORPHISM
  • QUANTITATIVE GENETICS
  • WILD SUNFLOWER
  • DISPLAY SIZE
  • TRADE-OFFS
  • FRUIT-SET
  • REPRODUCTION
  • HERBIVORY
  • PLANTS
  • ALLOCATION

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