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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 419:283-288 (2010)  -  DOI:

Pollen limitation in a dioecious seagrass: evidence from a field experiment

Brigitta I. van Tussenbroek1,*, Manuela Muhlia Montero1, Ricardo Wong2, M. Guadalupe Barba Santos1, Judith Márquez Guzmán2

1Unidad Académica Sistemas Arrecifales/ Puerto Morelos, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apdo. Postal 1152, Cancún, 77500 Quintana Roo, Mexico
2Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Laboratorio del Desarrollo en Plantas, Circuito Exterior, Ciudad Universitaria, Del. Coyoacán, México, DF 04510, Mexico

ABSTRACT: Pollen limitation is relatively common in plants pollinated by animals, but whether pollen availability may limit the reproduction of water-pollinated plants is much less known. We investigated pollen production and possible limitation of pollen availability in the hydrophilous dioecious seagrass Thalassia testudinum in an area where flowering was abundant (20 to 33% of the shoots produced flowers annually). Fruit production decreased from 86 to 60% after experimental removal of half of the male flowers (estimated pollen:ovule ratio of 6.7 × 104:1) during April 2008. In late April to May 2009, when male flowers were less abundant than in the previous year (at a pollen:ovule ratio of 3.7 × 104:1), artificial pollination resulted in an increase in fruit production from 65% in control flowers to 91% in the treated flowers in the same plot. This study is the first experimental evidence of pollen limitation in a dioecious plant with hydrophilous pollination.

KEY WORDS: Fruit-set · Hydrophilous pollination · Seagrass · Seed-set · Thalassia

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Cite this article as: Van Tussenbroek BI, Muhlia Montero M, Wong R, Barba Santos MG, Márquez Guzmán J (2010) Pollen limitation in a dioecious seagrass: evidence from a field experiment. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 419:283-288.

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