Oecologia

, Volume 137, Issue 4, pp 557–563 | Cite as

Floral density, pollen limitation, and reproductive success in Trillium grandiflorum

Plant Animal Interactions

Abstract

Decreases in floral density can disrupt mutualistic interactions between plants and their pollinators, and decrease reproductive success. I addressed the relationship between floral density and plant reproductive success using two experimental approaches: a pollen supplementation experiment in 12 populations of Trillium grandiflorum that naturally varied in floral density, and a transplant experiment in which floral density was manipulated in plots at four experimental sites. In the pollen supplementation experiments, the degree of pollen limitation, in terms of fruit set and seed set, decreased with floral density. Further, in the experimental sites, plant reproductive success increased asymptotically with floral density. These results demonstrate the value of simultaneously conducting experiments in both experimental sites and natural populations to understand how population density influences plant reproductive success. Factors that reduce the density of this perennial herb, such as habitat fragmentation and herbivory by white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), should be expected to limit its reproduction.

Keywords

Allee effect Pollen limitation Population density Reproductive success Trillium grandiflorum 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I thank T-L. Ashman, A. Case, J. Chase, S. Kalisz, R. Relyea, J. Steets and S. Tonsor for discussions and comments, J. Butzler, J. Chase, J. Dunn and J. Kauffman for help in the field, and B. Casper and two anonymous reviewers for helpful suggestions. This research was supported by McKinley and Darbarker research funds, Botany in Action (Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden), the University of Florida Foundation, and the NSF (DEB-0105000). This is Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology Publication 142.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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