Size-dependent resource allocation and sex allocation in herbaceous perennial plants


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Abstract

Individuals within a population often differ considerably in size or resource status as a result of environmental variation. In these circumstances natural selection would favour organisms not with a single, genetically determined allocation, but with a genetically determined allocation rule specifying allocation in relation to size or environment. Based on a graphical analysis of a simple evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS) model for herbaceous perennial plants, we aim to determine how cosexual plants within a population should simultaneously adjust their reproductive allocation and sex allocation to their size. We find that if female fitness gain is a linear function of resource investment, then a fixed amount of resources should be allocated to male function, and to post-breeding survival as well, for individuals above a certain size threshold. The ESS resource allocation to male function, female function, and post-breeding survival positively correlate if both male and female fitness gains are a saturating function of resource investment. Plants smaller than the size threshold are expected to be either nonreproductive or functionally male only.

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