Long-term individual-level variation of reproductive features in Sorbus aucuparia, a fleshy-fruited tree
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Synchrony and fluctuation in reproductive output was not associated in individual trees.
In a study conducted at the central Cantabrian Range, northern Iberia, we analyzed the fruiting pattern of 54 rowans (Sorbus aucuparia), a fleshy-fruited tree, over 16 consecutive years. Our objectives were: (a) to assess the covariation between several variables related to the reproductive performance of individual trees; (b) to measure the degree of synchrony shown by individuals; and (c) to address whether the reproductive behavior of individuals changed over the period of study. The fruiting performance of individuals was assessed in terms of the individual coefficient of variation in fruit output (CV i ), synchrony (as the correlation between fruiting patterns), and the frequency of heavy crop years. Mean synchrony (0.52 ± 0.18) and CV i values were large (1.92 ± 0.33) and correlated negatively. The average tree was synchronized with 60 ± 22 % of its conspecifics and about 36 ± 14 % of its fruiting years were heavy crop years. The study population included a distinct and small set of asynchronous trees and the synchrony between individual fruiting patterns was markedly reduced during the second half of the study period.
KeywordsCoefficient of variation Individual level Mast fruiting Interannual reproductive output Reproductive synchrony Sorbus aucuparia
Author contribution statement
Both authors conceived and prepared the manuscript jointly. Ignacio Munilla was responsible of data analysis and José Guitián was responsible of field data collection.
We thank Teresa Bermejo, Fidel Mato and Miguel Salvande for help in sampling matters. This study benefited from financial resources stated in projects PB97-0516 and BOS2001-3267 from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science. I.M. was supported by a Xunta de Galicia “Parga Pondal” fellowship contract during the preparation of the manuscript. We acknowledge the comments of two anonymous reviewers of an earlier version of the manuscript.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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