Flower number and distance to neighbours affect the fecundity of Goetzea elegans (Solanaceae)

Marcos A. Caraballo-Ortiz, Eugenio Santiago-Valentín, Tomas A. Carlo-Joglar

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11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Pollinator visits to flowers of self-incompatible tropical trees are critical for plant fecundity. However, few studies have examined how much of the variance in tropical tree fecundity is explained by individual attributes of trees (e.g. number of flowers), and how much is due to contextual variables such as distances to nearest flowering neighbours. Using multiple regressions we examined the relative contributions of these factors to the pollination and fecundity of Goetzea elegans, a mainly self-incompatible tree endemic to Puerto Rico. We studied the largest wild population of the species during the peak flowering and collected data on the frequency of pollinator visits (N = 25 trees), and the fecundity of the whole population (N = 105), including the visitation rate of two pollinators (the honey bee Apis mellifera and the bananaquit Coereba flaveola), the total number of flowers produced by each tree, and the total fruit set and seed viability per tree. We also recorded the distance to flowering conspecifics and heterospecifics, and the height for each tree. Flower number had a strong positive effect on pollinator visitation, but distance to nearest neighbours was equally or more important than flower number in influencing fecundity. Also, competition for limited pollinators between G. elegans and other species has a stronger effect than the facilitation that conspecifics may provide. Our results suggest that pollinator visits and aspects of fecundity of G. elegans depend both on the attributes of individual plants, and on those of the community of other nearby plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-528
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Tropical Ecology
Volume27
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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