, Volume 90, Issue 1, pp 21-26

Cost of reproduction as reduced growth in genotypes of two congeneric species with contrasting life histories

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Summary

We examined the effect of reproduction on growth in 33 genotypes of Plantago major and 14 genotypes of P. rugelii. These two herbaceous perennials have contrasting life histories; P. major reproduces at a smaller size, and allocates a larger proportion of its biomass to reproduction, than P. rugelii. The effect of reproduction on frowth was determined experimentally using photoperiod manipulations to control level of reproduction. The difference in growth between reproductive treatments was divided by the difference in capsule weight to produce a measure of reproductive cost per g of capsule for genotypes of the two species. In both species there was substantial variation among genotypes in the effect of reproduction on growth. Much of this variation could be correlated with differences among genotypes in the extent of reproductive investment and plant size. Cost in terms of reduction in growth per g of capsule increased with reproductive investment in P. rugelii, and with plant size in P. major. We suggest the differences between species in timing and extent of reproduction are related to the differences between species in effect of reproduction on growth. Plantago rugelii may reproduce to a lesser extent than P. major because cost per g of capsule in terms of reduced vegetative biomass, increases with reproductive output in the former species, but not in the latter. Similarly, P. major may reproduce earlier than P. rugelii because cost per g of capsule increases with plant size in P. major, but not in P. rugelii.