Advertisement

Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Correlated variation of floral and leaf traits along a moisture availability gradient

Abstract

Variation in flower size is an important aspect of a plant’s life history, yet few studies have shown how flower size varies with environmental conditions and to what extent foliar responses to the environment are correlated with flower size. The objectives of this study were to (1) develop a theoretical framework for linking flower size and leaf size to their costs and benefits, as assessed using foliar stable carbon isotope ratio (δ13C) under varying degrees of water limitation, and then (2) examine how variation in flower size within and among species growing along a naturally occurring moisture availability gradient correlates with variation in δ13C and leaf size. Five plant species were examined at three sites in Oregon. Intra- and inter-specific patterns of flower size in relation to moisture availability were the same: the ratios of the area of flower display to total leaf area and of individual flower area to leaf area were greater at sites with more soil moisture compared to those sites with less soil moisture. The increase in flower area per unit increase in leaf area was greater at sites with more soil moisture than at sites where water deficit can occur. Values of δ13C, an index of water-use efficiency, were greater for plants with larger floral size. The patterns we observed generalize across species, irrespective of overall plant morphology or pollination system. These correlations between flower size, moisture availability, and δ13C suggest that water loss from flowers can influence leaf responses to the environment, which in turn may indirectly mediate an effect on flower size.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

References

  1. Ackerly DD, Reich PB (1999) Convergence and correlations among leaf size and function in seed plants: a comparative test using independent contrasts. Am J Bot 86:1272–1281

  2. Ashman TL (1994) A dynamic perspective on the physiological cost of reproduction in plants. Am Nat 144:300–316

  3. Ashman TL (2000) Pollinator selectivity and its implications for the evolution of dioecy and sexual dimorphism. Ecology 81:2577–2591

  4. Bond BJ, Kavanagh KL (1999) Stomatal behavior of four woody species in relation to leaf-specific hydraulic conductance and threshold water potential. Tree Physiol 19:503–510

  5. Breadmore KN, Kirk WDJ (1998) Factors affecting floral herbivory in a limestone grassland. Acta Oecologica 19:501–506

  6. Campbell DR (1996) Evolution of floral traits in a hermaphroditic plant: field measurements of heritabilities and genetic correlations. Evolution 50:1442–2453

  7. Campbell DR, Crawford N, Brody AK, Forbis TA (2002) Resistance to pre-dispersal seed predators in a natural hybrid zone. Oecologia 131:436–443

  8. Caruso CM (2004) The quantitative genetics of floral trait variation in Lobelia: potential constraints on adaptive evolution. Evolution 58:732–740

  9. Caruso CM, Maherali H, Mikulyuk A, Carlson K, Jackson RB (2005) Genetic variance and covariance for physiological traits in Lobelia: are there constraints on adaptive evolution? Evolution 59:826–837

  10. Cheplick GP (2005) The allometry of reproductive allocation. In: Reekie EG, Bazzaz FA (eds) Reproductive allocation in plants. Elsevier, Burlington

  11. Clausen JC, Keck DD, Hiesey WM (1940) Experimental studies on the nature of species. Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington

  12. Collin CL, Pennings PS, Rueffler C, Widmer A, Shykoff JA (2002) Natural enemies and sex: how seed predators and pathogens contribute to sex-differential reproductive success in a gynodioecious plant. Oecologia 131:94–102

  13. Cordell S, Goldstein G, Mueller-Dombois D, Webb D, Vitousek PM (1998) Physiological and morphological variation in Metrosideros polymorpha, a dominant Hawaaian tree species, along an altitudinal gradient: the role of phenotypic plasticity. Oecologia 113:188–196

  14. Corner EJH (1949) The durian theory, or the origin of the modern tree. Ann Bot 13:367–414

  15. Darwin C ([1859]1993) On the origin of species by means of natural selection. Penguin Books, New York

  16. Dawson TE (1990) Spatial and physiological overlap of three co-occurring alpine willows. Funct Ecol 4:13–25

  17. Dawson TE, Ehleringer JR (1993) Gender-specific physiology, carbon isotope discrimination, and habitat distribution in boxelder, Acer negundo. Ecology 74:798–815

  18. Dawson TE, Mambelli S, Plamboeck AH, Templer PH, Tu KP (2002) Stable isotopes in plant ecology. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 33:507–559

  19. Dawson TE, Brooks P (2001) Fundamentals of stable isotope chemistry and measurement. In: Unkovich M, McNeill A, Pate J, Gibbs J (eds) The application of stable isotope techniques to study biological processes and the functioning of ecosystems. Kluwer, Dordrecht

  20. De la Barrera E, Nobel PS (2003) Nectar: properties, floral aspects and speculations on origin. Trends Plant Sci 9:65–69

  21. Delph LF, Gehring JL, Frey FM, Arntz AM, Levri M (2004) Genetic constraints on floral evolution in a sexually dimorphic plant revealed by artificial selection. Evolution 58:1936–1946

  22. Dilley JD, Wilson P, Mesler MR (2000) The radiation of Calochortus: generalist flowers moving through a mosaic of potential pollinators. Oikos 89:209–222

  23. Dudley SA (1996) Differing selection on plant physiological traits in response to environmental water availability: a test of adaptive hypotheses. Evolution 50:92–102

  24. Elle E, Hare JD (2002) Environmentally induced variation in floral traits affects the mating system in Datura wrightii. Funct Ecol 16:79–88

  25. Fabbro T, Körner C (2004) Altitudinal differences in floral traits and reproductive allocation. Flora 199:70–81

  26. Falster DS, Warton DI, Wright IJ (2003) (S)MATR: standardised major axis tests and routines. Version 1.0. http://www.bio.mq.edu.au/ecology/SMATR

  27. Farquhar GD, Sharkey TD (1982) Stomatal conductance and photosynthesis. Annu Rev Plant Physiol 33:317-45

  28. Farquhar GD, Ehleringer JR, Hubick KT (1989) Carbon isotope discrimination and photosynthesis. Annu Rev Plant Physiol Plant Mol Biol 40:503–537

  29. Galen C (1989) Measuring pollinator-mediated selection on morphometric floral traits: bumblebees and the alpine sky pilot, Polemonium viscosum. Evolution 43:882–890

  30. Galen C (2000) High and dry: drought stress, sex-allocation trade-offs, and selection on flower size in the alpine wildflower Polemonium viscosum (Polemoniaceae). Am Nat 156:72–83

  31. Galen C (2005) It never rains but then it pours: the diverse effects of water on flower integrity and function. In: Reekie EG, Bazzaz FA (eds) Reproductive allocation in plants. Elsevier, Burlington

  32. Galen C, Dawson TE, Stanton ML (1993) Carpels as leaves: meeting the carbon cost of reproduction in an alpine buttercup. Oecologia 95:187–193

  33. Galen C, Sherry RA, Carroll AB (1999) Are flowers physiological sinks or faucets? Costs and correlates of water use by flowers of Polemonium viscosum. Oecologia 118:461–470

  34. Geber MA, Dawson TE (1990) Genetic variation in and covariation between leaf gas exchange, morphology, and development in Polygonum arenastrum, an annual plant. Oecologia 85:153–158

  35. Geber MA, Griffen LR (2003) Inheritance and natural selection on functional traits. Int J Plant Sci 164:S21–S42

  36. Gholz HL (1982) Environmental limits on aboveground net primary production, leaf area, and biomass in vegetation zones of the Pacific Northwest. Ecology 63:469–481

  37. Herrera J (2005) Flower size variation in Rosmarinus officinalis: individuals, populations, and habitats. Ann Bot 95:431–437

  38. Huxman TE, Hamerlynck EP, Smith SD (1999) Reproductive allocation and seed production in Bromus madritensis ssp. rubens at elevated atmospheric CO2. Funct Ecol 13:1769–1777

  39. Johnston FM, Pickering CM (2004) Effect of altitude on resource allocation in the weed Achillea millefolium (yarrow, Asteraceae) in the Australian Alps. Aus J Bot 52:639–646

  40. Jonas CS, Geber MA (1999) Variation among populations of Clarkia unguiculata (Onagraceae) along altitudinal and latitudinal gradients. Am J Bot 86:333–343

  41. Lambers H, Chapin III FS, Pons TL (1998) Plant physiological ecology. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York

  42. Lambrecht SC (2006) Floral and physiological trait correlations differ among populations of Leptosiphon (Polemoniaceae) with contrasting moisture availability. Abstract, Botanical Society of America Annual Meeting, Chico

  43. Lofgren A (2002) Effects of isolation on distribution, fecundity, and survival in the self-incompatible Achillea millefolium (L.). Ecoscience 9:503–508

  44. McDowell SCL, Turner DP (2002) Reproductive effort in invasive and non-invasive Rubus. Oecologia 133:102–111

  45. Midgley J, Bond W (1989) Leaf size and inflorescence size may be allometrically related traits. Oecologia 78:427–429

  46. Niklas KJ, Enquist BJ (2003) An allometric model for seed plant reproduction. Evol Ecol Res 5:79–88

  47. Nobel PS (1977) Water relations and photosynthesis of a barrel cactus, Ferocactus acanthodes, in the Colorado desert. Oecologia 27:117–133

  48. Panek JA, Waring RH (1997) Stable carbon isotopes as indicators of limitations to forest growth imposed by climate stress. Ecol Appl 7:854–863

  49. Patterson TB, Givnish TJ (2004) Geographic cohesion, chromosomal evolution, parallel adaptive radiations, and consequent floral adaptations in Calochortus (Calochortaceae): evidence from a cpDNA phylogeny. New Phytol 161:253–264

  50. Schlicting CD, Pigliucci M (1998) Phenotypic evolution: a reaction norm perspective. Sinauer, Sunderland

  51. Sandquist DR, Ehleringer JR (2003) Carbon isotope discrimination differences within and between contrasting populations of Encelia farinosa raised under common-environment conditions. Oecologia 134:463–470

  52. Santiago LS, Kitajima K, Wright SJ, Mulkey SS (2004) Coordinated changes in photosynthesis, water relations and leaf nutritional traits of canopy trees along a precipitation gradient in lowland tropical forest. Oecologia 139:495–502

  53. Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ (1987) Introduction to biostatistics. Freeman, New York

  54. Strauss SY, Whittall JB (2006) Non-pollinator agents of selection on floral traits. In: Harder L, Barrett SCH (eds) The ecology and evolution of flowers. Oxford University Press, New York

  55. Warton DI, Weber NC (2002) Common slope tests for bivariate errors-in-variables models. Biometry J 44:161–174

  56. Westoby M, Wright IJ (2003) The leaf size-twig size spectrum and its relationship to other important spectra of variation among species. Oecologia 135:621–628

  57. Wolfe LM, Rissler LJ (1999) Reproductive consequences of a gall-inducing fungal pathogen (Exobasidium vaccinii) on Rhododendron calendulaceum (Ericaceae). Can J Bot 77:1454–1459

  58. Wong SC (1979) Elevated atmospheric partial pressure of CO2 and plant growth. I. Interactions of nitrogen nutrition and photosynthetic capacity in C3 and C4 plants. Oecologia 44:68–74

  59. Young HJ, Stanton ML, Ellstrand NC, Clegg JM (1994) Temporal and spatial variation in heritability and genetic correlations among floral traits in Raphanus sativus, wild radish. Heredity 73:298–308

  60. Zhang JW, Marshall JD (1995) Variation in carbon isotope discrimination and photosynthetic gas exchange among populations of Pseudotsuga menziesii and Pinus ponderosa in different environments. Funct Ecol 9:402–412

Download references

Acknowledgments

Thanks to B. Bond, J. Gaudinski, and P. Koch for use of lab equipment and facilities, to P. Brooks and S. Mambelli for technical assistance with our stable isotope analyses, and to D. Falster, D. Warton, and I. Wright for making (S)MATR available online. We also thank C. Galen whose valuable comments improved this manuscript. We gratefully acknowledge the Oregon State McDonald–Dunn Research Forest for permission to use the Forest Peak study site.

Author information

Correspondence to Susan C. Lambrecht.

Additional information

Communicated by John Keeley.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Appendix A is given in the supplementary material (PDF 69 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Lambrecht, S.C., Dawson, T.E. Correlated variation of floral and leaf traits along a moisture availability gradient. Oecologia 151, 574–583 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-006-0617-7

Download citation

Keywords

  • Floral display
  • Stable carbon isotope ratio
  • Water-use efficiency