University of Oulu

Constraints on sexual reproduction and seed set in Vaccinium and Campanula

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Author: Nuortila, Carolin1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2007
Publish Date: 2007-06-05
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic dissertation to be presented, with the assent of the Faculty of Science of the University of Oulu, for public defence in Kuusamonsali (Auditorium YB210), Linnanmaa, on June 15th, 2007, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Professor José Ramón Obeso
Docent Veikko Salonen


Plant reproductive success is affected by a number of factors, such as climatic conditions and plant resource status during flowering and fruiting, and pollen origin in fertilization. In the present thesis project, different aspects of plant reproductive ecology were investigated in order to identify constraints on sexual reproduction and seed set in two clonal dwarf shrubs (Vaccinium myrtillus and V. vitis-idaea) and one long-lived perennial herb (Campanula rotundifolia). The work comprised phenological observations and experiments with the clonal shrubs at natural boreal forest sites in the Oulanka National Park in northern Finland. The impact of mycorrhiza on C. rotundifolia fitness traits was tested in hand pollinations in a greenhouse experiment.

Pollen origin had some effect on fruit set, and had strong effects on the number of matured seeds in all three species. Seed yield reductions upon hand self-pollination as compared with hand cross-pollination were attributed to inbreeding depression in V. myrtillus, and presumably to partial self-incompatibility in C. rotundifolia. V. myrtillus and V. vitis-idaea showed a population structure where the number of matured seeds per fruit increased with increasing distance between pollen donor and pollen recipient. Clonal growth in concert with the foraging behaviour of bumblebee pollinators is thought to cause the possibility of either uniparental or biparental inbreeding, with a strong effect on the number of matured seeds per berry.

In a flower-removal experiment lasting three years, costs of fruiting to future fecundity and vegetative traits were observed, but not to future survival in V. vitis-idaea and V. myrtillus. The response was more pronounced in the evergreen than in the deciduous species. In Campanula rotundifolia, mycorrhiza was associated with a cost to the plants' reproductive effort, as plant biomass and the number of flowers produced per plant were decreased in mycorrhizal plants in comparison with non-mycorrhizal plants. There was no difference in seed number, seed weight or germination between the seeds of mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal plants. However, the offspring of mycorrhizal plants had a higher relative growth rate, while also having a higher seed phosphorus concentration.

In summary, sexual reproduction was variably constrained by previous reproduction in Vaccinium, and contrary to expectations, by mycorrhiza in Campanula. However, mycorrhiza had positive effects on some measures of offspring fitness. In all three species, self-pollination limited seed production.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. A, Scientiae rerum naturalium
ISSN-E: 1796-220X
ISBN: 978-951-42-8500-4
ISBN Print: 978-951-42-8499-1
Issue: 489
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2007. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.