Journal Article

Female reproductive success decreases with display size in monkshood, <i>Aconitum kusnezoffii</i> (Ranunculaceae)

Wan-Jin Liao, Yi Hu, Bi-Ru Zhu, Xia-Qing Zhao, Yan-Fei Zeng and Da-Yong Zhang

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 104, issue 7, pages 1405-1412
Published in print December 2009 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online September 2009 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcp237
Female reproductive success decreases with display size in monkshood, Aconitum kusnezoffii (Ranunculaceae)

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background and Aims

Reduction in female fitness in large clones can occur as a result of increased geitonogamous self-fertilization and its influence through inbreeding depression. This possibility was investigated in the self-compatible, bee-pollinated perennial herb Aconitum kusnezoffii which varies in clone size.

Methods

Field investigations were conducted on pollinator behaviour, flowering phenology and variation in seed set. The effects of self-pollination following controlled self- and cross-pollination were also examined. Selfing rates of differently sized clones were assessed using allozyme markers.

Key Results

High rates of geitonogamous pollination were associated with large display size. Female fitness at the ramet level decreased with clone size. Fruit and seed set under cross-pollination were significantly higher than those under self-pollination. The pre-dispersal inbreeding depression was estimated as 0·502 based on the difference in seed set per flower between self- and cross-pollinated flowers. Selfing rates of differently sized clones did not differ.

Conclusions

It is concluded that in A. kusnezoffii the negative effects of self-pollination causing reduced female fertility with clone size arise primarily from a strong early-acting inbreeding depression leading to the abortion of selfed embryos prior to seed maturation.

Keywords: Early-acting inbreeding depression; Aconitum kusnezoffii; clone size; female reproductive success; geitonogamy

Journal Article.  5017 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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