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Limits to reproduction and seed size-number trade-offs that shape forest dominance and future recovery

May 2, 2022

The relationships that control seed production in trees are fundamental to understanding the evolution of forest species and their capacity to recover from increasing losses to drought, fire, and harvest. A synthesis of fecundity data from 714 species worldwide allowed us to examine hypotheses that are central to quantifying reproduction, a foundation for assessing fitness in forest trees. Four major findings emerged. First, seed production is not constrained by a strict trade-off between seed size and numbers. Instead, seed numbers vary over ten orders of magnitude, with species that invest in large seeds producing more seeds than expected from the 1:1 trade-off. Second, gymnosperms have lower seed production than angiosperms, potentially due to their extra investments in protective woody cones. Third, nutrient-demanding species, indicated by high foliar phosphorus concentrations, have low seed production. Finally, sensitivity of individual species to soil fertility varies widely, limiting the response of community seed production to fertility gradients. In combination, these findings can inform models of forest response that need to incorporate reproductive potential.

Publication Year 2022
Title Limits to reproduction and seed size-number trade-offs that shape forest dominance and future recovery
DOI 10.1038/s41467-022-30037-9
Authors Tong Qiu, Robert Andrus, Marie-Claire Aravena Acuna, Davide Ascoli, Yves Bergeron, Roberta Berretti, Daniel Berveiller, Thomas Biovin, Raul Bonal, Don C. Bragg, Thomas Caignard, Rafael Calama, J. Julio Camarero, Chia-Huo Chang-Yang, Natalie L. Cleavitt, Benoit Courbaud, Francois Courbet, Thomas Curt, Adrian Das, Evangelia Daskalakou, Hendrik Davi, Nicolas Delpierre, Sylvain Delzon, Michael Dietze, Sergio Donoso Calderon, Laurent Dormont, Josep Maria Espelta, Timothy J. Fahey, William Farfan-Rios, Catherine A. Gehring, Gregory S. Gilbert, Georg Gratzner, Cathryn H. Greenberg, Qinfeng Guo, Andrew Hacket-Pain, Arndt Hampe, Qingmin Han, Janneke Hille Ris Lambers, Kazuhiko Hoshizaki, Ines Ibanez, Jill F. Johnstone, Valentin Journé, Daisuke Kabeya, Christopher L. Kilner, Thomas Kitzberger, Johannes M. H. Knops, Richard K. Kobe, Georges Kunstler, Hiroko Kurokawa, Jonathan G. A. Lageard, Jalene LaMontagne, Mateusz Ledwon, Francois Lefevre, Theodor Leininger, Jean-Marc Limousin, James A. Lutz, Diana Macias, Eliot J. B. McIntire, Christopher M. Moore, Emily V. Moran, Renzo Motta, Jonathan A. Myers, Thomas A. Nagel, Kyotaro Noguchi, Jean-Marc Ourcival, Robert Parmenter, Ian Pearse, Ignacio M. Perez-Ramos, Lukasz Piechnik, John Poulsen, Renata Poulton-Kamakura, Miranda Redmond, Chantal D. Reid, Kyle C. Rodman, Francisco Rodrigues-Sanchez, Javier Sanguinetti, C. Lane Scher, Wiliam H Schlesinger, Harald Schmidt Van Marle, Barbara Seget, Shubhi Sharma, Miles Silman, Michael A. Steele, Nathan L. Stephenson, Jacob N. Straub, I-Fang Sun, Samantha Sutton, Jennifer J. Swenson, Margaret Swift, Peter A. Thomas, Maria Uriarte, Giorgio Vacchiano, Thomas T. Veblen, Amy V. Whipple, Thomas G. Whitham, Andreas Wion, Boyd Wright, S. Joseph Wright, Kai Zhu, Jess Zimmermann, Roman Zlotin, Magdalena Zywiec, James S. Clark
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Nature Communications
Index ID 70243026
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center; Western Ecological Research Center