Plastic changes in seed dispersal along ecological succession: theoretical predictions from an evolutionary model
Article first published online: 26 JAN 2005
Journal of Ecology
Volume 93, Issue 2, pages 431–440, April 2005
How to Cite
RONCE, O., BRACHET, S., OLIVIERI, I., GOUYON, P.-H. and CLOBERT, J. (2005), Plastic changes in seed dispersal along ecological succession: theoretical predictions from an evolutionary model. Journal of Ecology, 93: 431–440. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2005.00972.x
- Issue published online: 9 MAR 2005
- Article first published online: 26 JAN 2005
- Received 15 June 2004 revision accepted 25 October 2004 Handling Editor: Joop Ouborg
- habitat selection;
- phenotypic plasticity;
- population age;
- reproductive value;
- 1We use a deterministic model to explore theoretically the ecological and evolutionary relevance of plastic changes in seed dispersal along ecological succession. Our model describes the effect of changing disturbance regime, age structure, density and interspecific competition as the habitat matures, enabling us to seek the evolutionarily stable reaction norm for seed dispersal rate as a function of time elapsed since population foundation.
- 2Our model predicts that, in the context of ecological succession, selection should generally favour plastic strategies allowing plants to increase their dispersal rate with population age, contrary to previous predictions of models that have assumed genetically fixed dispersal strategies.
- 3More complex patterns can evolve showing periods with high production of dispersing seeds separated by periods of intense local recruitment. These patterns are due to the interaction of individual senescence with change in ecological conditions within sites.
- 4Evolution of plastic dispersal strategies affects the patterns of density variation with time since foundation and accelerates successional replacement. An interesting parallel can be drawn between the evolution of age-specific dispersal rates in successional systems and the evolution of senescence in age-structured populations.
- 5Seed dispersal plasticity could be a potential mechanism for habitat selection in plants and have implications for range expansion in invasive species because recently founded populations at the advancing front may show different patterns to those in the established range.