Reproductive behaviour of clonal plants might change in contrasting habitats. In field and simulated experiments, we studied the relative importance of sexual reproduction and clonal propagation in rhizomatous herb, Iris japonica Thunb. in two forest habitats (BF, bamboo forest and OAFE, open area of forest edge), and effects of population origin (BF vs. OAFE) and environmental effects (shading) on sexual vs. clonal reproduction. In field experiment, the relative importance of reproduction in I. japonica populations was different in two habitats, which showed predominantly sexual reproduction in OAFE and clonal propagation in BF. In simulated experiment, the effect of population origin and light treatment (shading) was significant for reproduction of I. japonica. Clonal propagation was only influenced by population origin, and sexual reproduction was determined both by population origin and light treatment. A trade-off between two reproductive modes exhibited in both experiments. The trade-offs was more obvious in OAFE than in BF because sexual reproduction, resource and inter-specific competition obviously lacked in BF. The results indicated that the selective forces shaping reproduction of I. japonica in contrasting habitats might demonstrate pronounce adaptive population differentiation among forest habitats. Thus, I. japonica populations formed local differentiation by adaptation of reproduction to local heterogeneous forest habitats.
Russian Journal of Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: May 15, 2013
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