Sex ratio from germination through maturity and its reproductive consequences in the liverwort Sphaerocarpos texanus

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37 Scopus citations

Abstract

The dioecious winter ephemeral liverwort, Sphaerocarpos texanus disperses spore tetrads consisting of two males and two females. I examined the subsequent sex ratio of S. texanus at different stages in its life cycle to detect possible mechanisms affecting deviations from a 1:1 sex ratio and the effect of sex ratio on reproductive success. As S. texanus occurs in pure male, pure female and mixed sex clumps, I examined the proportions and sizes of these, the reproductive success of pure female and mixed sex clumps in the field and the sex ratio of germinating plants in a growth chamber. In both the field and the growth chamber the most abundant clump type was pure female followed by mixed sex and pure male clumps. These abundance patterns suggest that males have a lower survival rate than females before emergence and this lower survival rate continues through the gametophytic stage. This disadvantage may be due to the higher susceptibility of males to environmental conditions, to their competitive inferiority to females, and/or to differential resource allocation to the sexes within the spore tetrad. The female biased sex ratio at germination is consistent with predictions from sex ratio theory. Further my field data indicate that males may gain a survival benefit from growing in a mixed sex clump and both males and females benefit reproductively when they occur in mixed sex clumps.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-278
Number of pages6
JournalOecologia
Volume92
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1992

Keywords

  • Bryophytes
  • Germination
  • Reproductive success
  • Sex ratio
  • Sphaerocarpos texanus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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