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Data from: Flower phenology as a disruptor of the fruiting dynamics in temperate oak species

Citation

Schermer, Eliane et al. (2020), Data from: Flower phenology as a disruptor of the fruiting dynamics in temperate oak species, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.p8cz8w9k3

Abstract

  • Many perennial plants display masting, i.e., fruiting with strong interannual variations, irregular and synchronized between trees within the population. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the early flower phenology in temperate oak species promotes stochasticity into their fruiting dynamics, which could play a major role in tree reproductive success.

  • From large field monitoring network, we compared the pollen phenology between temperate and Mediterranean oak species. Then, focusing on temperate oak species, we explored the influence of the weather around the time of bud-burst and flowering on seed production, and simulated with a mechanistic model the consequences an evolutionary shifting of flower phenology would have on fruiting dynamics.

  • Temperate oak species release pollen earlier in the season than Mediterranean oak species. Such early flowering in temperate oak species results in pollen being often released during unfavorable weather conditions and resulting in frequent reproductive failure. If pollen release was delayed due to natural selection, fruiting dynamics would exhibit much reduced stochastic variation.

  • We propose that early flower phenology might be adaptive by making mast-seeding years rare and unpredictable, which would greatly help controlling the dynamics of seed consumers.