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Size-dependent sex allocation in Solanum lycocarpum St. Hil. (Solanaceae)

  • Coelho, F. F.
  • Damasceno, A. G.
  • Fávaro, A.
  • Teodoro, G. S.
  • Langsdorff, L. P.
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2022
Scientific Electronic Library Online - Brazil
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Abstract Resource allocation to reproduction can change depending on size, as predicted by the size-dependent sex allocation. This theory is based on the fact that small individuals will invest in the allocation of sex with lower cost of production, usually male gender. In plants, there are some andromonoecy species, presence of hermaphrodite and male flowers in the same individual. Andromonoecy provides a strategy to optimally allocate resources to male and female function, evolving a reproductive energy-saving strategy. Thus, our objective was to investigate the size-dependent sex allocation in Solanum lycocarpum St. Hil. We tested the hypothesis that plants with larger size will invest in the production of hermaphrodite flowers, because higher individuals have greater availability of resources to invest in more complex structures involving greater energy expenditure. The studied species was S. lycocarpum, an andromonoecious species. From June 2016 to March 2017 the data were collected in 38 individuals, divided in two groups: the larger plant group (n=18; height=3-5 m) and the smaller plant group (n=20; height=1-2 m).Our data show that there was effect of plant size on the flower production and the sexual gender allocation. The larger plants showed more flowers and higher production of hermaphrodite flowers. Furthermore, in the flower scale, we observed allometric relationship among the flower’s traits with proportional investments in biomass, anther size and gynoecium size. Our results are in agreement with size-dependent sex allocation theory and andromonoecy hypothesis related to mechanisms for optimal resource allocation to male and female function.

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