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The nutrient economy of Lodoicea maldivica, a monodominant palm producing the world's largest seed.

Edwards, Peter J. and Fleischer-Dogley, Frauke and Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N. (2015):
The nutrient economy of Lodoicea maldivica, a monodominant palm producing the world's largest seed.
In: The New phytologist, pp. 990-999, 206, (3), ISSN 1469-8137,
[Article]

Abstract

The iconic Lodoicea maldivica palm appears to invest heavily in reproduction, with females bearing the world's largest seeds and males producing copious pollen. We asked how these palms, which grow in extremely poor soils, obtain sufficient nutrients to support such high levels of reproductive function. Our study site was the Vallée de Mai UNESCO Site on Praslin, Seychelles. We measured the trees' allocations of dry matter, nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) to aboveground growth and reproduction, quantified stemflow and throughfall, and measured availabilities of N and P in the soil. We show that the nutrient costs of reproduction are very high in male and female plants, and for P far exceed those of vegetative growth. We describe how the palm leaves form a huge funnel that intercepts particulate material, especially pollen, which is flushed to the base of the trunk when it rains. In this way, Lodoicea improves its nutrient supply and that of its dispersal-limited offspring. Lodoicea shares many functional characteristics with dominant trees of other monodominant forests in the humid tropics. It also exhibits unique features, including its huge seed, effective funnelling mechanism and diverse community of closely associated animals, suggesting a long evolutionary history under relatively stable conditions.

Item Type: Article
Erschienen: 2015
Creators: Edwards, Peter J. and Fleischer-Dogley, Frauke and Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N.
Title: The nutrient economy of Lodoicea maldivica, a monodominant palm producing the world's largest seed.
Language: English
Abstract:

The iconic Lodoicea maldivica palm appears to invest heavily in reproduction, with females bearing the world's largest seeds and males producing copious pollen. We asked how these palms, which grow in extremely poor soils, obtain sufficient nutrients to support such high levels of reproductive function. Our study site was the Vallée de Mai UNESCO Site on Praslin, Seychelles. We measured the trees' allocations of dry matter, nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) to aboveground growth and reproduction, quantified stemflow and throughfall, and measured availabilities of N and P in the soil. We show that the nutrient costs of reproduction are very high in male and female plants, and for P far exceed those of vegetative growth. We describe how the palm leaves form a huge funnel that intercepts particulate material, especially pollen, which is flushed to the base of the trunk when it rains. In this way, Lodoicea improves its nutrient supply and that of its dispersal-limited offspring. Lodoicea shares many functional characteristics with dominant trees of other monodominant forests in the humid tropics. It also exhibits unique features, including its huge seed, effective funnelling mechanism and diverse community of closely associated animals, suggesting a long evolutionary history under relatively stable conditions.

Journal or Publication Title: The New phytologist
Volume: 206
Number: 3
Divisions: 10 Department of Biology
10 Department of Biology > Synthetic Ecological Networks
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2015 09:38
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