Bogdziewicz, M, Hacket-Pain, A, Kelly, D, Thomas, PA, Lageard, J and Tanentzap, AJ (2021) Climate warming causes mast seeding to break down by reducing sensitivity to weather cues. Global Change Biology, 27 (9). pp. 1952-1961. ISSN 1354-1013

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Climate change is altering patterns of seed production worldwide with consequences for population recruitment and migration potential. For the many species that regenerate through synchronized, quasiperiodic reproductive events termed masting, these changes include decreases in the synchrony and interannual variation in seed production. This break-down in the occurrence of masting features harms reproduction by decreasing the efficiency of pollination and increasing seed predation. Changes in masting are often paralleled by warming temperatures, but the underlying proximate mechanisms are unknown. We used a unique 39-year study of 139 European beech (Fagus sylvatica) trees that experienced masting break-down to track the seed developmental cycle and pinpoint phases where weather effects on seed production have changed over time. A cold followed by warm summer led to large coordinated flowering efforts among plants. However, trees failed to respond to the weather signal as summers warmed and the frequency of reproductive cues changed fivefold. Less synchronous flowering resulted in less efficient pollination that further decreased the synchrony of seed maturation. As global temperatures are expected to increase this century, perennial plants that fine-tune their reproductive schedules based on temperature cues may suffer regeneration failures.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final version of this accepted manuscript and all relevant information, including copyrights, can be found online at;
Uncontrolled Keywords: mast seeding; phenology; pollen limitation; proximate mechanisms; reproduction; seed production; synchrony; warming
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2021 09:41
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2022 01:30

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