Fire, rain and the selection of seeder and resprouter life-histories in fire-recruiting, woody plants


Author for correspondence: Fernando Ojeda Tel: +34 956016766 Fax: +34 956016019 Email:


  • • Several Cape species of the genus Erica are known to present seeder and resprouter phenotypes, and this variation seems to have a genetic basis. Therefore, this genus provides ideal model systems for using to elucidate the evolution of nonsprouting or seeder and resprouter life-histories in woody, fire-recruiting plants.
  • • A simple simulation model was developed to identify, under life-history optimality, the ecological conditions (viz. rainfall conditions and fire frequency) that conferred a selective advantage to the seeder phenotype over the resprouter in a given Cape Erica species.
  • • The model illustrated that the seeder life-history was able to invade and replace a resprouter population only under a mild mediterranean climate, with short, moderate summer droughts.
  • • This simulation approach will contribute to a better understanding of the biogeographical pattern of seeder and resprouter lineages of one of the paradigmatic fynbos woody taxa throughout the Cape floristic region.