Navigation Links
University of Minnesota scientist finds that big plant seeds don't always beat out small seeds
Date:2/18/2010

University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences researcher Helene Muller-Landau has developed a new theory explaining why some plant species produce a small number of large seeds while others produce a large number of small seeds.

Using mathematical modeling, Muller-Landau demonstrated that plants having different size seeds can coexist when regeneration sites vary in stressfulness. Species that produce large seeds (e.g., coconuts) have the advantage under stressful conditions -- such as drought or shade -- while plants that produce large numbers of small seeds (e.g., fig species) have the advantage in areas with adequate water and light.

The research was published in the Early Online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences during this week of Feb. 15. To read the research paper, visit http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/02/11/0911637107.full.pdf+html

"The standard explanation has been that big seeds beat out small seeds under all conditions, but that's not necessarily true," Muller-Landau says. "Big seeds have the advantage in stressful conditions and small seeds have the advantage when sun and water are abundant. It's a trade-off between tolerance and fecundity."

Muller-Landau's "tolerance-fecundity model" explains why different plant species have different size seeds and may also provide insight into the variation of the number and size of offspring among animal species, she says. It also helps to explain why there's so much diversity among species, a key finding that advances understanding of evolutionary biology.

As a staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and head of an international effort to quantify carbon in forests worldwide, Muller-Landau has visited forests in China, Malaysia, Ecuador and Panama, among other exotic destinations. Her experience has enabled her to observe a broad spectrum of plant species and the conditions under which they grow. This led her to question the prevailing theory about seed size.

Research in tropical biology has long focused on natural history and basic biology, as the bewildering diversity and complexity of these ecosystems has made them seem beyond the reach of quantitative ecological theory. In recent years, however, as larger datasets have accumulated, and some general patterns have begun to emerge, mathematical models have been increasingly been applied -- and have provided important insights.

"This simple, elegant theory, so well grounded in sound natural history, is a considerable advance in our understanding of plant species and how they coexist," said Egbert Leigh, of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.


'/>"/>

Contact: Patty Mattern
mattern@umn.edu
612-624-2801
University of Minnesota
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. University of Oklahoma study reveals red hot results
2. Research at Marshall University may lead to new ways to transport and manipulate molecules
3. Boston University School of Medicine researcher awarded the 2010 Avanti Award in Lipids
4. Case Western Reserve University works with Johnson & Johnson Services Inc. on research grant
5. University of the Basque Country researchers decode transcriptome for gray mullet
6. Oxford University Press enters publishing partnership with Infectious Diseases Society of America
7. Iowa State University researcher discovers Ebolas deadly secret
8. Oxford University Press launches new librarian newsletter
9. University of Plymouth invests in dental research
10. University of Pittsburgh researchers launching trial of new osteoporosis drug
11. New spider species discovered by University of Haifa scientists
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/16/2016)...   EyeLock LLC , a market leader of ... an IoT Center of Excellence in Austin, ... of embedded iris biometric applications. EyeLock,s iris ... security with unmatched biometric accuracy, making it the most ... EyeLock,s platform uses video technology to deliver a fast ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider ... MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , ... multi-biometric projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple complex ... any combination of fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. ... SDK and MegaMatcher Accelerator , which ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... and LONDON , April ... part of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of ... today announced a partnership to integrate the Onegini ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ) ... their customers enhanced security to access and transact ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 22, 2016  Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ... QB3@953 life sciences incubator to accelerate the ... shared laboratory space at QB3@953 was created to help ... obstacle for many early stage organizations - access to ... sponsorship, Amgen launched two "Amgen Golden Ticket" awards, providing ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016 Research and ... Global Markets" report to their offering. ... billion in 2014 from $29.3 billion in 2013. The market is ... of 13.8% from 2015 to 2020, increasing from $50.6 billion in ... projected product forecasts during the forecast period (2015 to 2020) are ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... ... June 22, 2016 , ... Quantitative Radiology Solutions, ... and current participant in the Phase 1 Ventures program, is leveraging regional and ... Quantitative Radiology Solutions helps physicians make better treatment decisions by quantifying medical imaging ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... ... 22, 2016 , ... The Immigrant Journey Awards , ... to North Texas and the nation, recently held its annual luncheon program. ... civic and economic vitality of North Texas. Proceeds from the event are used ...
Breaking Biology Technology: