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Am Nat. 2009 Nov;174(5):660-72. doi: 10.1086/605999.

Flowering life-history strategies differ between the native and introduced ranges of a monocarpic perennial.

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  • 1Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana 59812, USA.


Life-history theory makes several key predictions about reproductive strategies on the basis of demographic vital rates, particularly the relationship between juvenile and adult survival. Two such predictions concern the optimal time to begin reproducing and whether semelparity or iteroparity is favored. I tested these life-history predictions and explored how they might differ between the native and introduced ranges of the monocarpic perennial Cynoglossum officinale. I first compared vital rates between ranges. I then used these vital rates to parameterize integral projection models to calculate the population growth rate (lambda) and net reproductive rate (R(0)) as surrogates for fitness to compare strategies within and between ranges. I found that both survival and growth were higher in the introduced range, where size at flowering was larger and iteroparity was much more common than in the native range. The observed and predicted strategies for size at flowering were similar in the native range. In the introduced range, however, even though plants flowered at a larger size, the observed size was not as large as the optimum predicted by lambda or the higher optimum predicted by R(0). Iteroparity conferred higher fitness in both ranges, as measured by both fitness metrics, suggesting that severe constraints, potentially specialist herbivores, prevent this strategy from becoming more common in the native range.

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