Nomenclature: Wunderlin (1982).
Patterns of reproductive effort with time since last fire in Florida scrub plants
Article first published online: 24 FEB 2009
1994 IAVS - the International Association of Vegetation Science
Journal of Vegetation Science
Volume 5, Issue 3, pages 303–310, June 1994
How to Cite
Ostertag, R. and Menges, E. S. (1994), Patterns of reproductive effort with time since last fire in Florida scrub plants. Journal of Vegetation Science, 5: 303–310. doi: 10.2307/3235853
- Issue published online: 24 FEB 2009
- Article first published online: 24 FEB 2009
- Received 24 June 1993; Revision received 15 October 1993; Accepted 13 January 1994.
- Fire-return interval;
- Fruit production;
- Reproductive allocation;
- Scrubby flatwood;
- Seedling recruitment
Abstract. In periodically burned ecosystems, fire frequency may be an important selective pressure for the evolution of plant reproductive allocation patterns. We evaluated this hypothesis for Florida (USA) scrub plants by developing three models of reproductive effort with time since last fire given assumptions concerning seed dormancy and seedling establishment. We then examined reproductive effort of five woody, resprouting shrubs at sites representing nine times since last fire (ranging from 0–64 yr). All species showed significant patterns with time since fire in percentage of stems reproductive and fruit production. Stems of all species needed to attain a minimum size before flowering. Four species had the greatest level of reproductive effort (fruit biomass/above-ground biomass) within 5 yr post-fire and best fit the Early Peak Model of reproductive effort (i.e. between-fire seedling recruitment or seed dormancy). A fifth species best fit the Broad Peak Model (i.e. immediate post-fire seedling establishment), peaking in reproductive effort at 7 yr post-fire. Both of these models are based on somewhat variable fire-return intervals, suggesting that the frequency of scrub fires may have been too unpredictable to select for reproductive allocation patterns precisely reflecting particular fire-return intervals. Early peaks in post-fire reproductive effort may be a bet-hedging strategy to allow for greater chances of seedling establishment and survival.