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Reproduction reduces photosynthetic capacity in females of the subdioecious Honckenya peploides

Sanchez Vilas, Julia and Retuerto, Rubén 2011. Reproduction reduces photosynthetic capacity in females of the subdioecious Honckenya peploides. Acta Oecologica 37 (2) , pp. 155-163. 10.1016/j.actao.2011.01.013

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As a consequence of the different reproductive functions performed by the sexes, sexually dimorphic/polymorphic plants may exhibit gender-related variations in the energy and resources allocated to reproduction, and in the physiological processes that underlie these differences. This study investigated whether the sexes of the subdioecious plant Honckenya peploides differ in ecophysiological traits related to photosynthetic capacity and whether possible differences depend on reproductive status and on the plant’s position (edge or centre) in the population. We registered in three sites in NW Spain, the sex and density of shoots of two segregated clumps of plants. These clumps represent an extreme case of sex-ratio variation across space, with separated single-sex clumps of plants. In two of these sites we measured photosynthetic efficiencies, chlorophyll content, and specific leaf areas. In females, reproduction reduced photochemical efficiency, chlorophyll content and increased the specific leaf area, which is a key leaf trait related to photosynthetic capacity. In males, no differences due to reproduction were detected. The position within the clump affected the specific leaf area of the shoots, with shoots growing at the edge having the lowest values, regardless of the sex. Finally, the effects of position in photosynthetic efficiency and chlorophyll content where highly variable among clumps. We conclude that the differential effects of reproduction on sexes may entail different costs that could be crucial in the outcome of interactions between them, contributing to their spatial segregation.

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
Uncontrolled Keywords: Chlorophyll fluorescence; Dioecy; Photochemical efficiency; Sexual dimorphism; Sex spatial segregation; Specific leaf area
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1146-609X
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:37

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