Bogdziewicz, M, Ascoli, D, Hacket-Pain, A, Koenig, WD, Pearse, I, Pesendorfer, M, Satake, A, Thomas, PA, Vacchiano, G, Wohlgemuth, T and Tanentzap, A (2019) From theory to experiments for testing the proximate mechanisms of mast seeding: an agenda for an experimental ecology. Ecology Letters, 23 (2). pp. 210-220. ISSN 1461-0248

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Highly variable and synchronised production of seeds by plant populations, known as masting, is implicated in many important ecological processes, but how it arises remains poorly understood. The lack of experimental studies prevents underlying mechanisms from being explicitly tested, and thereby precludes meaningful predictions on the consequences of changing environments for plant reproductive patterns and global vegetation dynamics. Here we review the most relevant proximate drivers of masting and outline a research agenda that takes the biology of masting from a largely observational field of ecology to one rooted in mechanistic understanding. We divide the experimental framework into three main processes: resource dynamics, pollen limitation and genetic and hormonal regulation, and illustrate how specific predictions about proximate mechanisms can be tested, highlighting the few successful experiments as examples. We envision that the experiments we outline will deliver new insights into how and why masting patterns might respond to a changing environment.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019 The Authors. Ecology Letters published by CNRS and John Wiley & Sons Ltd This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: experimental framework; mast seeding; masting; plant reproduction; research agenda
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QK Botany
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2020 11:44
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2020 11:44

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