Size-specific fecundity and the influence of lifetime size variation upon effective population size in Abies balsamea

Dodd, Mike E. and Silvertown, Jonathan (2000). Size-specific fecundity and the influence of lifetime size variation upon effective population size in Abies balsamea. Heredity, 85(6) pp. 604–609.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2540.2000.00822.x

Abstract

The hierarchy of plant size often present in dense populations of plants and the close correlation found between size and fecundity can result in an unequal distribution of fecundity, which reduces the ratio of effective population size/census number ( Ne/N ). Such an effect has been found previously in annuals, but no study has hitherto tested for the effect in the lifetime fecundity variation of a perennial population. We use the demographically stable size distribution to be found in natural, wave-regenerating populations of balsam fir, Abies balsamea, in order to estimate Ne/N ). In both wave-regenerating and normal forests our estimated values of Ne/N ) were about twice those previously reported for annuals. We suggest that fecundity variance is expected to be smaller in trees and other long-lived perennials than in annuals because density-dependent mortality operates more strongly in the prereproductive phase of long-lived plants.

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