Phenotypic selection on flowering phenology and size in two dioecious plant species with different pollen vectors

Miguel A Munguia-Rosas, Jeff Ollerton, Victor Parra-Tabla

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Dioecious plants may be pollinated biotically by animals or abiotically via wind or water currents. It has been hypothesized that these two types of pollen vectors might impose contrasting selective pressures on plant flowering phenology. In the present study we describe the flowering phenology of two sympatric dioecious species with contrasting pollination modes: Mercurialis perennis (wind-pollinated) and Tamus communis (insect-pollinated). We estimated selection differentials and gradients for flowering time and flowering synchrony. As flowering time might depend on the accumulation of enough internal resources, we also estimated direct and indirect selection on plant size. Both species have male-biased sexual ratios, and males are bigger and produce larger flower displays than females, but only in T. communis do males bloom earlier and for longer than females. Selection gradients suggest that selection tends to favor early-flowering females of T. communis. There is no evidence of direct current selection on the flowering phenology of M. perennis. Intersexual differences in phenology fit with sex allocation and sexual selection theories. As we hypothesized, phenology of the animal-pollinated species is under stronger selection than that of the wind-pollinated species and we discuss the potential role of pollen vectors in shaping the flowering phenologies of the study species
Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant Species Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011


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