In wind-pollinated plants, male-biased sex allocation is often positively associated with plant size and height. However, effects of size (biomass or reproductive investment) and height were not separated in most previous studies. Here, using experimental populations of monoecious plants, Ambrosia altemisiifolia, we examined (1) how male and female reproductive investments (MRI and FRI) change with biomass and height, (2) how MRI and height affect male reproductive success (MRS) and pollen dispersal, and (3) how height affects seed production. Pollen dispersal kernel and selection gradients on MRS were estimated by 2,102 seeds using six microsatellite markers. First, MRI increased with height, but FRI did not, suggesting that sex allocation is more male-biased with increasing plant height. On the other hand, both MRI and FRI increased with biomass but often more greatly for FRI, and consequently, sex allocation was often female-biased with biomass. Second, MRS increased with both height and MRI, the latter having the same or larger effect on MRS. Estimated pollen dispersal kernel was fat-tailed, with the maximum distance between mates tending to increase with MRI but not with height. Third, the number of seeds did not increase with height. Those findings showed that the male-biased sex allocation in taller plants of A. artemisiifolia is explained by a direct effect of height on MRS.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Nature and Landscape Conservation