Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 131, Issue 4, pp 623–631 | Cite as

Skewed male reproductive success and pollen transfer in a small fragmented population of the heterodichogamous tree Machilus thunbergii

  • Shuntaro Watanabe
  • Koh-Ichi Takakura
  • Yuko Kaneko
  • Naohiko Noma
  • Takayoshi Nishida
Regular Paper


Heterodichogamy is defined as the presence of two flower morphs that exhibit the male and female functions at different times among individuals within a population. Heterodichogamy is regarded as an adaptation to promote outcrossing through enhanced inter-morph mating, together with a 1:1 morph ratio. However, in highly fragmented populations, the morph ratio may be more likely to be biased by stochastic events. In such a situation, individuals of a minority morph within a population are expected to have higher reproductive success than those of a majority morph, which may suffer from pollen shortages of the minority morph. In this paper, we evaluated mating patterns and male reproductive success in a highly fragmented population of Machilus thunbergii, a putative heterodichogamous evergreen laurel tree. Results of paternity analysis indicated that the selfing rate was not clearly different between the two morphs. In contrast, the proportion of intra-morph mating was higher in the majority-morph (MM) mother trees than in the minority-morph (MF) mother trees. Bayesian estimated male reproductive success indicated that male reproductive success was higher in minority-morph (MF) than in majority-morph (MM) mother trees. These findings indicate that (1) the majority morph mothers, suffering a shortage of the opposite morph pollen, could partly compensate for the reduced reproductive success by intra-morph mating rather than by selfing, and (2) negative-frequency dependent selection may be involved in the maintenance of the two morphs.


Frequency-dependent selection Heterodichogamy Machilus thunbergii Male reproductive success Paternity analysis 



We would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for careful reading and valuable comments. S.W. was supported by the Future Development Funding Program of Kyoto University Research Coordination Alliance. Y. K. was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (Nos. 25340115, 15H04418) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan.


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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shuntaro Watanabe
    • 1
  • Koh-Ichi Takakura
    • 2
  • Yuko Kaneko
    • 3
  • Naohiko Noma
    • 2
  • Takayoshi Nishida
    • 2
  1. 1.Field Science Education and Research Centre (FSERC)Kyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.School of Environmental ScienceThe University of Shiga PrefectureHikoneJapan
  3. 3.Natural Science LaboratoryToyo UniversityTokyoJapan

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