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Data from: Leaf size in three generations of a dioecious tropical tree, Ocotea tenera (Lauraceae): sexual dimorphism and changes with age

Citation

Wheelwright, Nathaniel T. et al. (2013), Data from: Leaf size in three generations of a dioecious tropical tree, Ocotea tenera (Lauraceae): sexual dimorphism and changes with age, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.271cs

Abstract

PREMISE OF THE STUDY: In dioecious species, selection should favor different leaf sizes in males and females whenever the sexes experience distinct environments or constraints, such as different costs of reproduction. We took advantage of a long-term experimental study of Ocotea tenera (Lauraceae), a dioecious understory tree in Monteverde, Costa Rica, to explore leaf size differences between genders and age classes across generations. METHODS: We measured leaf size in adult trees in a natural population, in their adult F1 offspring in two experimental populations, and in their F2 offspring at the seedling stage. Individual trees were measured at various times over a 20-year period. RESULTS: Leaves of female trees averaged 8% longer and 12% greater in area than those of males. Leaves were sexually dimorphic at reproductive maturity. Leaf size declined over the course of most trees’ lifetimes. Heritability estimates for leaf length were positive although not statistically significant (h2 = 0.63, SE = 0.48, P= 0.095). CONCLUSIONS: We ruled out the “ecological causation” hypothesis for sexual dimorphism in leaf size because male and female trees co-occurred in the same habitats. Sexual dimorphism appeared not to result from genetic or phenotypic correlations with other traits such as height or flower size. Rather, females appear to compensate for higher costs of reproduction and diminished photosynthetic capacity by producing larger leaves. Additive genetic variance in leaf size, a prerequisite for an evolutionary response to selection for sexual dimorphism, was suggested by positive (although only marginally significant) heritability estimates.

Usage Notes

Location

Central America
lower montane forest
Monteverde
Costa Rica