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Proc Biol Sci. 2002 Jul 22;269(1499):1509-15.

Evolution of flowering strategies in Oenothera glazioviana: an integral projection model approach.

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Department of Biological Sciences and Natural Environment Research Council Centre for Population Biology, Imperial College, Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7PY, UK.


The timing of reproduction is a key determinant of fitness. Here, we develop parameterized integral projection models of size-related flowering for the monocarpic perennial Oenothera glazioviana and use these to predict the evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS) for flowering. For the most part there is excellent agreement between the model predictions and the results of quantitative field studies. However, the model predicts a much steeper relationship between plant size and the probability of flowering than observed in the field, indicating selection for a 'threshold size' flowering function. Elasticity and sensitivity analysis of population growth rate lambda and net reproductive rate R(0) are used to identify the critical traits that determine fitness and control the ESS for flowering. Using the fitted model we calculate the fitness landscape for invading genotypes and show that this is characterized by a ridge of approximately equal fitness. The implications of these results for the maintenance of genetic variation are discussed.

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