Are seed mass and seedling size and shape related to altitude? Evidence in Gymnocalycium monvillei (Cactaceae)
Pérez Sánchez, Reyes Manuel
Zeballos, Sebastián R.
Las Peñas, María Laura
Flores Rivas, Joel David
Gurvich, Diego E
"Several studies reported a negative relationship between altitude and seed mass. In cactus species, seed mass has been also related to seedling morphology (size and shape). Here we studied Gymnocalycium monvillei (Lem.) Pfeiff. ex Britton & Rose, a cactus species with a wide altitudinal distribution, with the main aim of analyzing how altitude affects seed mass and seedling size (height and width) and shape (globose or columnar). We collected seeds from five sites along the entire altitudinal distribution of the species in the Córdoba Mountains (sites were located between 878 and 2230 m a.s.l.), encompassing a marked climatic gradient (6 °C of mean annual temperature difference between the extreme sites). Seed mass and seedling traits were measured in the laboratory. Seedling height increased with altitude, whereas seed mass was not related to this parameter. Seedlings became more globose (reduced surface/volume ratio) with decreasing altitude. Variation in seedling shape along the altitudinal gradient may be related to the contrasting climatic conditions to which seedlings are exposed, and could account for the wide altitudinal distribution of G. monvillei. Our results highlight the importance of seedling traits in the species’ response to climatic change."
Knowledge areaBIOLOGÍA VEGETAL (BOTÁNICA)
PublisherCanadian Science Publishing