The dynamics of resource allocation and costs of reproduction in a sexually dimorphic, wind-pollinated dioecious plant Journal Article

Author(s): Teitel, Zachary; Pickup, Melinda; Field, David L; Barrett, Spencer C
Article Title: The dynamics of resource allocation and costs of reproduction in a sexually dimorphic, wind-pollinated dioecious plant
Affiliation IST Austria
Abstract: Sexual dimorphism in resource allocation is expected to change during the life cycle of dioecious plants because of temporal differences between the sexes in reproductive investment. Given the potential for sex-specific differences in reproductive costs, resource availability may contribute to variation in reproductive allocation in females and males. Here, we used Rumex hastatulus, a dioecious, wind-pollinated annual plant, to investigate whether sexual dimorphism varies with life-history stage and nutrient availability, and determine whether allocation patterns differ depending on reproductive commitment. To examine if the costs of reproduction varied between the sexes, reproduction was either allowed or prevented through bud removal, and biomass allocation was measured at maturity. In a second experiment to assess variation in sexual dimorphism across the life cycle, and whether this varied with resource availability, plants were grown in high and low nutrients and allocation to roots, aboveground vegetative growth and reproduction were measured at three developmental stages. Males prevented from reproducing compensated with increased above- and belowground allocation to a much larger degree than females, suggesting that male reproductive costs reduce vegetative growth. The proportional allocation to roots, reproductive structures and aboveground vegetative growth varied between the sexes and among life-cycle stages, but not with nutrient treatment. Females allocated proportionally more resources to roots than males at peak flowering, but this pattern was reversed at reproductive maturity under low-nutrient conditions. Our study illustrates the importance of temporal dynamics in sex-specific resource allocation and provides support for high male reproductive costs in wind-pollinated plants.
Keywords: dioecy; wind pollination; Resource allocation; Cost of reproduction; Sexual dimorphism
Journal Title: Plant Biology
Volume: 18
Issue 1
ISSN: 1435-8603
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell  
Date Published: 2016-01-01
Start Page: 98
End Page: 103
DOI: 10.1111/plb.12336
Open access: no