Time after time: flowering phenology and biotic interactions.
ABSTRACT The role of biotic interactions in shaping plant flowering phenology has long been controversial; plastic responses to the abiotic environment, limited precision of biological clocks and inconsistency of selection pressures have generally been emphasized to explain phenological variation. However, part of this variation is heritable and selection analyses show that biotic interactions can modulate selection on flowering phenology. Our review of the literature indicates that pollinators tend to favour peak or earlier flowering, whereas pre-dispersal seed predators tend to favour off-peak or later flowering. However, effects strongly vary among study systems. To understand such variation, future studies should address the impact of mutualist and antagonist dispersal ability, ecological specialization, and habitat and plant population characteristics. Here, we outline future directions to study how such interactions shape flowering phenology.
SourceAvailable from: Richard J. Smithers[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The rise in spring temperatures over the past half-century has led to advances in the phenology of many nontropical plants and animals. As species and populations differ in their phenological responses to temperature, an increase in temperatures has the potential to alter timing-dependent species interactions. One species-interaction that may be affected is the competition for light in deciduous forests, where early vernal species have a narrow window of opportunity for growth before late spring species cast shade. Here we consider the Marsham phenology time series of first leafing dates of thirteen tree species and flowering dates of one ground flora species, which spans two centuries. The exceptional length of this time series permits a rare comparison of the statistical support for parameter-rich regression and mechanistic thermal sensitivity phenology models. While mechanistic models perform best in the majority of cases, both they and the regression models provide remarkably consistent insights into the relative sensitivity of each species to forcing and chilling effects. All species are sensitive to spring forcing, but we also find that vernal and northern European species are responsive to cold temperatures in the previous autumn. Whether this sensitivity reflects a chilling requirement or a delaying of dormancy remains to be tested. We then apply the models to projected future temperature data under a fossil fuel intensive emissions scenario and predict that while some species will advance substantially others will advance by less and may even be delayed due to a rise in autumn and winter temperatures. Considering the projected responses of all fourteen species, we anticipate a change in the order of spring events, which may lead to changes in competitive advantage for light with potential implications for the composition of temperate forests. © 2015 The Authors. Global Change Biology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.Global Change Biology 03/2015; DOI:10.1111/gcb.12896 · 8.22 Impact Factor
Turkish Journal of Botany 01/2015; DOI:10.3906/bot-1403-16 · 1.60 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Today it is accepted that the theories of sexual selection and sexual conflict are general and can be applied to both animals and plants. However, potentially due to a controversial history, plant studies investigating sexual selection and sexual conflict are relatively rare. Moreover, these theories and concepts are seldom implemented in research fields investigating related aspects of plant ecology and evolution. Even though these theories are complex, and can be difficult to study, we suggest that several fields in plant biology would benefit from incorporating and testing the impact of selection pressures generated by sexual selection and sexual conflict. Here we give examples of three fields where we believe such incorporation would be particularly fruitful, including i) mechanisms of pollen-pistil interactions, ii) mating-system evolution in hermaphrodites and iii) plant immune responses to pests and pathogens. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company.AoB PLANTS 01/2015; 7. DOI:10.1093/aobpla/plv008 · 1.74 Impact Factor