, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 802-806
Date: 11 Jan 2007

Experimental investigation on weather cues for mast seeding of Fagus crenata

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Abstract

Although a recent study has suggested that the minimum temperature from late April to mid-May in the year preceding flowering causes mast seeding in Fagus crenata, no direct evidence is available to support this finding. The aim of the present investigation was, therefore, to test – in a field experiment – whether the minimum temperature determines mast seeding in F. crenata. We examined the effect of nighttime temperatures on flower-bud initiation in F. crenata by enclosing fruit-bearing branches in heated bags at night, thereby maintaining average nighttime temperatures of approximately 2°C above the ambient temperatures. Heating was applied at night from 21 April to 20 May, 21 May to 19 June, and 21 April to 19 June in 2001. Female inflorescence initiation was inhibited by the nocturnal heating in the period 21 April to 20 May and 21 May to 19 June. However, nocturnal heating from 21 April to 20 May was the more important based on the odds ratio of the former being much lower than that of the latter in a logistic regression model. Male inflorescence initiation was also inhibited by nocturnal heating from 21 April to 20 May. We therefore conclude that flower-bud initiation in F. crenata was controlled by nighttime temperatures between 21 April and 20 May.