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Data from: Is plant fitness proportional to seed set? An experiment and a spatial model

Cite this dataset

Campbell, Diane R. et al. (2017). Data from: Is plant fitness proportional to seed set? An experiment and a spatial model [Dataset]. Dryad.


Individual differences in fecundity often serve as proxies for differences in overall fitness, especially when it is difficult to track the fate of an individual's offspring to reproductive maturity. Using fecundity may be biased, however, if density-dependent interactions between siblings affect survival and reproduction of offspring from high- and low-fecundity parents differently. To test for such density-dependent effects in plants, we sowed seeds of the wildflower Ipomopsis aggregata (scarlet gilia) to mimic partially-overlapping seed shadows of pairs of plants, one of which produced twice as many seeds. We tested for differences in offspring success using a genetic marker to track offspring to flowering multiple years later. Without density dependence the high-fecundity parent should produce twice as many surviving offspring. We also developed a model that considered the geometry of seed shadows and assumed limited survivors so that number of juvenile recruits is proportional to area. Rather than a ratio of 2:1 offspring success from high- vs. low-fecundity parents, our model predicted a ratio of 1.42 to 1, which would translate into weaker selection. Empirical ratios of juvenile offspring and of flowers produced conformed well to the model's prediction. Extending the model shows how spatial relationships of parents and seed dispersal patterns modify inferences about relative fitness based solely on fecundity.

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National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-9805034