Theoretical Ecology

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 505–518 | Cite as

Evolution of masting with intermittence and synchronization under the enhancements of fertility and survival

  • Atsushi YamauchiEmail author
  • Yoshimichi Shirahama
  • Yutaka Kobayashi
Original Paper


Mast seeding is a reproductive mode in plants characterized by intermittence and intra- or interspecific synchronization. Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the evolution of mast seeding, but the relative importance of each is still unclear due to the complex interactions among the various factors involved, i.e., the two components of masting (intermittence and synchronization), two potential advantages of masting (enhancement of fertility and survival), and the intensities of interactions among individuals through enhancement effects. Several masting studies have claimed that independent selective forces may operate to drive the evolution of intermittence and synchrony, although a theoretical framework for the action of these independent selective forces has not yet been established. In the present study, we investigated the relationships among these factors by analyzing a mathematical model and conducting computer simulations. We found that intense interactions among plant individuals, through the enhancement of fertility or survival, promoted synchronous reproduction while concomitantly suppressing evolution of intermittence. We also demonstrated that enhancement of either fertility or survivorship alone may be insufficient for the evolution of masting, whereas a combination of the two effects can significantly promote it. This suggested a complementary relationship between two well-known hypotheses for the origin of masting, namely, the pollen/pollinator hypothesis and the predator satiation hypothesis.


Life history Evolution Invasibility analysis 



We thank the members of the Centre for Ecological Research, Kyoto University, for their comments and encouragement. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions to improve the quality of the paper. This research was supported financially by the Global COE Program A06 at Kyoto University and by the Core-to-Core project (20004) and KAKENHI (11007744) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) to AY.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Atsushi Yamauchi
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Yoshimichi Shirahama
    • 1
  • Yutaka Kobayashi
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Ecological ResearchKyoto UniversityOtsuJapan
  2. 2.PRESTO, Japan Science and Technology AgencyKawaguchiJapan
  3. 3.Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of ScienceThe University of TokyoBunkyo-kuJapan

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