Journal Article Warm temperature conditions restrict the sexual reproduction and vegetative growth of the spring ephemeral Gagea lutea (Liliaceae)

Sunmonu, Ninuola  ,  Kudo, Gaku

216 ( 10 )  , pp.1419 - 1431 , 2015-10 , Springer
The responses of reproduction and growth to climate warming are important issues to predict the fate of plant populations at high latitudes. Spring ephemerals inhabiting cool-temperate forests grow better under cool conditions, but how reproductive performance is influenced by warm weather is unclear. The phenological and physiological responses of reproduction and vegetative growth to warm temperature and light conditions were evaluated in the spring ephemeral Gagea lutea. Leaf and bract physiological activities, bulb growth, and seed production were compared among reproductive plants grown in forest, open, and greenhouse (GH; warming manipulation in the open site) plots. In vitro pollen germination ability was tested under various temperatures. In the GH, leaf and bract photosynthetic activities decreased rapidly at the fruiting stage, but dark respiration rates remained high, resulting in higher carbon exhaust in warm conditions. Both leaf and bract sizes and their longevities were reduced in the GH. Annual bulb growth was largest in the forest plot and smallest in the GH plot. Pollen germination was strongly inhibited at high temperature (30 degrees C). Fruit and seed productions were decreased only in the GH plot. Both vegetative and reproductive activities were negatively affected by warm temperature, resulting in less vegetative growth and lower seed-set, whereas an understory habitat was beneficial for vegetative growth and showed similar seed production to an open habitat over the experimental period. Decreasing population dynamics of spring ephemerals was predicted in response to future warming climate not only by growth inhibition but also by restriction of seed production.

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