Maternal environmental light conditions affect the morphological allometry and dispersal potential of acer palmatum samaras

Bin J.W. Chen (Corresponding author), Xinyu Wang, Yuting Dong, Heinjo J. During, Xia Xu, Niels P.R. Anten

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Abstract

Seed dispersal plays critical roles in determining species survival and community structures. Since the dispersal is biologically under maternal control, it is hypothesized that intraspecific variation of dispersal potential and associated traits of seeds (diaspores) should be influenced by maternal habitat quality. We tested this hypothesis by examining the effects of maternal environmental light condition on morphological traits and descending performance of nearly 1800 wind-dispersed samaras collected from maple species Acer palmatum. Results showed that samaras produced by trees from shaded microhabitats had greater dispersal potential, in terms of slower terminal velocity of descent, than those produced in open microhabitats. This advantage was largely attributed to morphological plasticity. On average, samaras produced in shaded microhabitats, as compared to those produced in open habitats, had lower wing loading by only reducing weight but not area. In allometric details, in the large size range, samaras from shaded microhabitats had larger areas than those from open microhabitats; in the small size range, samaras from shaded microhabitats had wider wings. These findings suggest that greater dispersal potential of samaras in response to stressful maternal light environment reflected an active maternal control through the morphological allometry of samaras.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1313
JournalForests
Volume12
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Autorotation
  • Diaspore
  • Habitat selection theory
  • Informed dispersal theory
  • Japanese maple
  • Maternal environmental effect
  • Seed dispersal
  • Terminal velocity
  • Wind dispersal
  • international
  • Plan_S-Compliant-OA

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