Factors affecting the seed-setting success of Dryas octopetala in front of Brøggerbreen (Brøgger Glacier) in the High Arctic, Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard
AbstractTo determine the factors restricting plant reproduction in front of a glacier, the gender expression and seed production of Dryas octopetala L. (Rosaceae) were observed, as well as the grazing pattern of reindeer on flowers, near Brøggerbreen (Brøgger Glacier), which is near Ny-Ålesund (78° 55'N, 11° 56'E), Svalbard. Three hundred shoots with flowers and flower buds were randomly tagged in early July 1996. Between then and the end of flowering in late July, 100 (33%) flowers and buds were grazed by reindeer. Out of the surviving flowers, 145 (76%) shoots had hermaphrodite flowers, while 45 (24%) shoots had male flowers without a developed gynocium. Male flowers, which appeared later than hermaphrodite flowers in the population, were significantly smaller than hermaphrodite flowers in dry weight. In the hermaphrodite flowers, moreover, smaller flowers showed lower dry-weight allocation to the gynoecium as compared to larger flowers. During the observation, hermaphrodite flowers did not produce any developed seeds under a natural condition (0% seed-set). Cross-pollinated flowers showed 8% seed-set. On the other hand, flowers which were artificially warmed in small greenhouses during the flowering period showed 60% seed-set, regardless of cross-pollination or autodeposition of pollen from anthers to stigma (self-pollination). Thus, it was found that grazing, gender variation in relation to the length of the growing season and the flower size, and - in the floweriing period - low temperature rather than pollinator limitation strongly affected the seed production of D. octopetala in the population studied.
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