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1 April 1998 Effects of Variable Life History and Insect Herbivores on Reproduction in Solidago macrophylla (Asteraceae) on an Elevational Gradient
Carol A. Kelly
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Abstract

This study documents variation in the number of florets per flower head and the number of flower heads per flowering shoot for individuals of Solidago macrophylla, a perennial composite, on an elevational gradient in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and asks if variation in floret distribution vs. plant insect attack predicts variation in reproductive success. Fifteen populations were censused over 2–3 yr to document the number of florets per head, the number of heads per shoot, aphid infestation and seedling emergence per flowering shoot. Additionally, levels of seed predation by tephritid flies were measured during the final year.

Flowering shoots in populations at higher elevations produced significantly more florets per head and fewer flowering heads than flowering shoots in populations at lower elevations. Overall, populations at lower elevations produced more florets than populations at higher elevations. However, this difference in reproductive potential did not result in differential reproduction in either 1993 or 1994. Populations at higher elevations had fewer plants with aphids than populations at lower elevations. In 1993 neither aphid infestation levels nor floral life history traits predicted the mean number of emerging seedlings per shoot in the greenhouse. In 1994 the percent of flowering shoots per population with aphids was a significant negative predictor of the mean number of emerging seedlings per shoot in the greenhouse, whereas the number of seed predators per head per shoot was a significant positive predictor of the number of emerging seedlings. Floral life history traits did not predict reproduction in 1994. Finally, patterns of seedling emergence over the environmental gradient resulted in a greater opportunity for selection in lower vs. higher elevation populations.

Carol A. Kelly "Effects of Variable Life History and Insect Herbivores on Reproduction in Solidago macrophylla (Asteraceae) on an Elevational Gradient," The American Midland Naturalist 139(2), 243-254, (1 April 1998). https://doi.org/10.1674/0003-0031(1998)139[0243:EOVLHA]2.0.CO;2
Received: 20 December 1996; Accepted: 1 December 1997; Published: 1 April 1998
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