Climate-driven synchrony in seed production of masting deciduous and conifer tree species

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Zamorano , J G , Hokkanen , T & Lehikoinen , A 2018 , ' Climate-driven synchrony in seed production of masting deciduous and conifer tree species ' , Journal of Plant Ecology , vol. 11 , no. 2 , pp. 180-188 .

Title: Climate-driven synchrony in seed production of masting deciduous and conifer tree species
Author: Zamorano, Juan Gallego; Hokkanen, Tatu; Lehikoinen, Aleksi
Other contributor: University of Helsinki, Finnish Museum of Natural History

Date: 2018-04
Language: eng
Number of pages: 9
Belongs to series: Journal of Plant Ecology
ISSN: 1752-9921
Abstract: Aims Understanding fluctuations in plant reproductive investment can constitute a key challenge in ecology, conservation and management. Masting events of trees (i.e. the intermittent and synchronous production of abundant seeding material) is an extreme example of such fluctuations. Our objective was to establish the degree of spatial and temporal synchrony in common four masting tree species in boreal Finland and account for potential causal drivers of these patterns. Methods We investigated the spatial intraspecific and temporal interspecific fluctuations in annual seed production of four tree species in Finland, silver birch Betula pendula Roth, downy birch Betula pubescens Ehrh., Norway spruce Picea abies (L.) H.Karst. and rowanberry Sorbus aucuparia L. We also tested to see whether variations in seed production were linked to annual weather conditions. Seeding abundance data were derived from tens of stands per species across large spatial scales within Finland during 1979 to 2014 (for rowanberries only 1986 to 2014). Important Findings All species showed spatial synchrony in seed production at scales up to 1000 km. Annual estimates of seed production were strongly correlated between species. Spring and summer temperatures explained most variation in crop sizes of tree species with 0-to 2-year time lags, whereas rainfall had relatively little influence. Warm weather during flowering (May temperature) in the flowering year (Year t) and 2 years before (t-2) were correlated with seed production. However, high May temperatures during the previous year (t-1) adversely affected seed production. Summer temperatures in Year t-1 was positively correlated with seed production, likely because this parameter enhances the development of flower primordials, but the effect was negative with a time lag of 2 years. The negative feedback in temperature coefficients is also likely due to patterns of resource allocation, as abundant flowering and seed production in these species is thought to reduce the subsequent initiation of potential new flower buds. Since the most important weather variables also showed spatial correlation up to 1000 km, weather parameters likely explain much of the spatial and temporal synchrony in seed production of these four studied tree species.
Subject: climate change
spatio-temporal synchrony
1172 Environmental sciences
1183 Plant biology, microbiology, virology

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