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Response of the sexes of the subdioecious plant Honckenya peploides to nutrients under different salt spray conditions

Sanchez Vilas, Julia and Retuerto, Rubén 2012. Response of the sexes of the subdioecious plant Honckenya peploides to nutrients under different salt spray conditions. Ecological Research 27 (1) , pp. 163-171. 10.1007/s11284-011-0884-6

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Abstract

Sex dimorphic plants often show sex-specific differences in growth and biomass allocation. These differences have been explained as a consequence of the different reproductive functions performed by the sexes. Such differences may determine the performance of each sex in different habitats and therefore might explain the spatial segregation of the sexes described in many dimorphic plants. We examined the growth, reproductive and physiological responses of the sexes of the subdioecious plant Honckenya peploides to two levels each of salt spray and nutrients, which are assumed to be important selective forces in coastal environments. We found sex-related differences in H. peploides. In particular, females allocated proportionally more dry mass to reproduction and grew less and more slowly than males regardless of salt spray and nutrient conditions, which is interpreted as a trade-off between reproductive and vegetative growth. Regarding physiological response, nutrients significantly increased values of photochemical reflectance index (PRI) in females but not in males, suggesting that photochemical efficiency is more limited by nutrients in females than in males. PRI values also suggest intersexual differences in protection requirements against photoinhibition. The study did not find sex-differential responses to salt spray, which caused a decrease in reproductive effort in both sexes. The sex-related differences in relative growth rates, reproductive allocation and photosynthetic features found here may contribute to explaining habitat-related between-sex differences in performance and, therefore, the spatial segregation of the sexes observed in H. peploides.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
Q Science > QK Botany
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 0912-3814
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:37
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/41544

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