Context-dependency of resource allocation trade-offs highlights constraints to the evolution of floral longevity in a monocarpic herb.
Authors of this article are:
Spigler RB Woodard AJ.
A summary of the article is shown below:
Floral longevity is a critical component of floral display, yet there is a conspicuous paucity of empirical research on its evolution within species. Evolutionary models of floral longevity are grounded in resource allocation theory and propose that selection acts on heritable variation to optimize longevity in light of competing floral construction and maintenance costs. Key assumptions remain untested within wild species. We measured maximum floral longevity alongside protandry, flower size, flower number, and flowering rate across families of the monocarpic herb Sabatia angularis grown under high and low resources. We evaluated genetic variation, plasticity, and correlations between display traits, including fundamental resource-allocation trade-offs and their interactions with resource availability. All display traits showed significant genetic variation. Resource availability influenced mean floral longevity and flower number, with genetic variation in these responses. Importantly, both floral longevity-flower number and flower number-size trade-offs were significant and stronger under low resources. This study reinforces the application of resource-allocation theory to floral display trait evolution. Our work highlights the context-dependency of trade-offs and the potential importance of plasticity in resource allocation, with plants investing in the construction of new flowers at faster rates when resources are high rather than in the maintenance of longer-lived flowers. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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