Life History Evolution in Amphicarpic Plants
Article first published online: 3 FEB 2005
Plant Species Biology
Volume 9, Issue 2, pages 119–131, August 1994
How to Cite
CHEPLICK, G. P. (1994), Life History Evolution in Amphicarpic Plants. Plant Species Biology, 9: 119–131. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-1984.1994.tb00092.x
- Issue published online: 3 FEB 2005
- Article first published online: 3 FEB 2005
- Received March 1, 1994. Accepted June 27, 1994.
- amphicarpic plants;
- Amphicarpum purshii;
- flower and seed dimorphism;
- seed dispersal
Abstract Plants with dimorphic flowers or seeds provide excellent material for the study of life history evolution because the dimorphism often involves measurable differences in morphology, size, number, or genetic relatedness. For amphicarpic plants, the proportion of aerial: subterranean morphs produced is highly variable (from 0 to > 100) and related to both environmental and genetic factors. Plants from aerial seeds produce lower ratios of aerial: subterranean morphs than those from subterranean seeds. Despite substantial variation, subterranean seeds are generally heavier than aerial seeds (but fewer) and produce vigorous seedlings with high survivorship and high fitness. Adaptive advantages of subterranean seeds include retention of offspring in favorable parental microhabitats, protection of seeds from herbivory, predation, or fire, and avoidance of desiccating conditions on the soil surface; potential disadvantages include lack of gene exchange, high energy costs, limited dispersal, and sibling competition. For the few species studied, aerial reproduction is more plastic than subterranean reproduction and more likely to be affected by environmental conditions.
Quantitative genetic analyses of a population of the annual grass Amphicarpum purshii have revealed lower heritabilites for subterranean relative to aerial reproductive traits. Subterranean seed number and mass show genetic correlations with shoot mass while aerial seed number and mass do not; seed set percentages of both seed types as well as percentage allocation to both reproductive morphs show negative genetic correlations with shoot mass. In this Amphicarpum population, directional selection on shoot mass may indirectly select for increased subterranean (but not aerial) seed output.