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Resource manipulation through experimental defoliation has legacy effects on allocation to reproductive and vegetative organs in Quercus ilex

Abstract : Abstract Background and Aims In plants, high costs of reproduction during some years can induce trade-offs in resource allocation with other functions such as growth, survival and resistance against herbivores or extreme abiotic conditions, but also with subsequent reproduction. Such trade-offs might also occur following resource shortage at particular moments of the reproductive cycle. Because plants are modular organisms, strategies for resource allocation to reproduction can also vary among hierarchical levels. Using a defoliation experiment, our aim was to test how allocation to reproduction was impacted by resource limitation. Methods We applied three levels of defoliation (control, moderate and intense) to branches of eight Quercus ilex trees shortly after fruit initiation and measured the effects of resource limitation induced by leaf removal on fruit development (survival, growth and germination potential) and on the production of vegetative and reproductive organs the year following defoliation. Key Results We found that defoliation had little impact on fruit development. Fruit survival was not affected by the intense defoliation treatment, but was reduced by moderate defoliation, and this result could not be explained by an upregulation of photosynthesis. Mature fruit mass was not affected by defoliation, nor was seed germination success. However, in the following spring defoliated branches produced fewer shoots and compensated for leaf loss by overproducing leaves at the expense of flowers. Therefore, resource shortage decreased resource allocation to reproduction the following season but did not affect sex ratio. Conclusions Our results support the idea of a regulation of resource allocation to reproduction beyond the shoot scale. Defoliation had larger legacy effects than immediate effects.
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https://hal-cnrs.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03548943
Contributor : samuel venner Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, January 31, 2022 - 10:32:24 AM
Last modification on : Sunday, September 25, 2022 - 3:55:35 AM

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Iris Le Roncé, Maude Toïgo, Elia Dardevet, Samuel Venner, Jean-Marc Limousin, et al.. Resource manipulation through experimental defoliation has legacy effects on allocation to reproductive and vegetative organs in Quercus ilex. Annals of Botany, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2020, 126 (7), pp.1165-1179. ⟨10.1093/aob/mcaa137⟩. ⟨hal-03548943⟩

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