Variation of early reproductive allocation in multi-site genetic trials of Maritime pine and Aleppo pine

Luis Santos, Eduardo Notivol, Rafael Zas, Maria Regina Chambel, Juan Majada, José Climent


Life histories in Mediterranean pines are well known to be closely related to different fire and disturbance regimes. Variation in these factors is also reflected in reproductive strategies at the specific and intraspecific level. Specifically, the onset of reproduction is a crucial stage for any organism because it has profound implications on fitness. In this paper we focused on the intraspecific variation and plasticity in the threshold size for reproduction and reproductive allocation in two Mediterranean pines, assessed at the onset of reproduction, when trade-offs between reproduction and growth are expected to be greater. Replicated common garden provenance and progeny trials of Aleppo pine and Maritime pine were used to estimate genetic parameters for reproduction and vegetative growth, as well as variation in plasticity in reproductive strategies at the intraspecific level. In both species, high variation among populations was found for both threshold size for reproduction and for reproductive allocation. Reproductive allocation was also highly variable within populations and showed moderate to high values of heritability and high coefficients of additive genetic variation. These results indicate a high genetic control of reproductive traits, while high additive genetic variation is maintained, allowing to face selective pressures. Moreover, reproductive strategies although plastic, showed low genotype x environment interaction, and intraspecific variation was highly consistent across trial sites both at the population and the family levels. The former data confirm the strong genetic control of reproductive traits in these species. Finally, the fact that Aleppo pine starts its reproductive phase as female while Maritime pine can start reproducing either as male or female deserves further attention.


Pinus halepensis; Pinus pinaster; genetic variability; plasticity; trade-offs; early reproductive strategies; threshold size for reproduction

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2010193-9109