Dynamics of internal carbon resources during masting behavior in trees
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- Miyazaki, Y. Ecol Res (2013) 28: 143. doi:10.1007/s11284-011-0892-6
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Several proximate factors of masting have been provided. Here, I focus on the role of internal factors, especially the relationship between internal carbon resources and modular structures in trees. I summarize various studies of carbon resource allocation for reproduction during masting events in terms of the proximate factors of masting and discuss the modular structure in which trees accumulate and consume carbon resources as well as the timing when internal carbon resources affect masting since trees have complex resource dynamics among organs. The resource budget model, which provides a simple mechanistic explanation of the masting mechanism, is supported by various study lines. This model assumes decreasing levels of stored photosynthate after flowering and fruiting. According to several studies, however, carbon reserves do not decrease after fruiting in species in which the modules autonomously allocate current photosynthate for fruiting. In addition, it is important to elucidate when carbon resources affect masting events because during their long developmental processes, trees pass through various stages until they produce maturing fruits to create successful masting events. To explore the mechanisms of masting in future studies, it would be important to figure out how and when candidate factors (including nutrients other than carbon) may influence the entire reproduction process, for example, using field manipulation experiments.