SEXUAL DIMORPHISM MASKS LIFE-HISTORY TRADE-OFFS IN THE DIOECIOUS PLANT SILENE LATIFOLIA

L F DELPH, T R MEAGHER

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99 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Females of dioecious plant species are expected to show greater trade-offs with other life history traits than males because of their high investment in reproduction. We investigated life history traits and resource allocation patterns for both males and females of the dioecious plant Silene latifolia, to document allocation both prior to and after reproductive investment. In addition, the impact of fruit production on subsequent allocation to reproduction and growth was investigated hv varying the number nf flowers pollinated females. The mean date of first reproduction was the same for males and females. Early-flowering plants of both sexes invested less in leaf biomass than plants that delayed flowering. The percentage of flowers pollinated had a significant effect on how resources were allocated, and on the amount and timing of further flower production. Sexual dimorphism was observed in resource allocation patterns after, but not prior to, investment in reproduction. Overall, pollinated females were found to have more leaf biomass and invest nearly twice as much in reproduction as males, in spite of an apparent trade-off between leaf production and reproduction within both females and males. We conclude that sexual dimorphism in life history traits that affects resource acquisition causes the resource pool that is allocated to be variable, rather than static, thereby masking the underlying tradeoffs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-785
Number of pages11
JournalEcology
Volume76
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1995

Keywords

  • DIOECIOUS
  • LIFE HISTORY TRAITS
  • SEXUAL DIMORPHISM
  • SILENE LATIFOLIA TRADE-OFFS
  • SHRUB OEMLERIA-CERASIFORMIS
  • RESOURCE-ALLOCATION PATTERNS
  • REPRODUCTIVE EFFORT
  • CLONAL GROWTH
  • RAIN-FOREST
  • BIOMASS ALLOCATION
  • RUMEX-ACETOSELLA
  • FEMALE PLANTS
  • ACER-NEGUNDO
  • RATIO

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