Recent Advances in Studies on Seed Masting: Interpreting Empirical Data with Mechanistic Models

Wednesday, August 12, 2015: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
309, Baltimore Convention Center
Takashi Saitoh, Hokkaido University
Alan Hastings, University of California, Davis
Many long lived perennial plants employ a masting strategy: synchronous, highly variable reproduction, or synchronized boom-bust cycles of reproduction. It is not only an intriguing phenomenon itself, but it is also important to understand reproductive strategy of plants. Since the beginning of ecology we have known this conspicuous phenomenon and intuitively understood its importance in ecological community. However, it was not long ago that we began to discuss about its biological mechanism. Besides a new problem that masting patterns might have changed for recent decades was added into our interest in the context of global warming. Recently the role of internal resource dynamics as one of the proximate factors for masting has gained strong support (the resource budget model). This model assumes that plants accumulate resources every year, set flowers when the resource level exceeds the threshold and set seeds and fruits at a rate limited by pollen or pollinator availability. Therefore, in order to test the resource budget model, a variety of factors influencing flowering, resource accumulation, seed production, and environmental noises should be considered. The aim of this symposium is to review studies on masting of perennial plants and discuss about how to link empirical studies to the resource budget model. Masaki will review empirical studies on masting and show what we know and what we need to know more. Shibata will show the advantages of analyses of the temporal changes in masting patterns to understand its biological mechanism, because the temporal changes may be generated by response of plants to environmental changes. Crone will talk about resource dynamics in connection with flowering and seed production on the basis of empirical data on the carbon resources. Satake will talk about a new approach to the masting mechanism. Her research team isolated flowering genes and identified the seasonal and annual expression patterns of these genes in Fagus crenata. She will discuss about the relationship between the gene expression pattern and the carbohydrate and nitrogen concentrations. Lyles will suggest that environmental noises may play a crucial role in inducing masting. Saitoh will discuss about the impact of seed masting on wildlife community, showing different responses of different rodent species to seed crops. We will provide insights into the research strategy in the next stage and clarify internal and external factors that we should measure.
8:00 AM
 Toward a comprehensive understanding of seed masting: What do we need to complete the puzzle?
Takashi Masaki, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute
9:00 AM
 Spatio-temporal analyses of seed production and resource depletion in three forest tree species
Elizabeth E. Crone, Tufts University; Joshua Rapp, University of California, Davis; Michael A. Steele, Wilkes University
9:30 AM
9:40 AM
 Exploring the mechanism of mass flowering using long-term depterocarp phenology data
Yu-Yun Chen, National DongHwa University; Akiko Satake, Hokkaido University; Shinya Numata, Tokyo Metropolitan University; Yoshiko Kosugi, Kyoto University; Makoto Tani, Kyoto University; Suat Hui Yeoh, University of Malaya; Nur Supardi Mohd Nor, Forest Research Institute Malaysia; S. Joseph Wright, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute; I-Fang Sun, National Dong Hwa University; Naoki Tani, Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences
10:10 AM
 The role of large environmental noise in masting: General model and example from pistachio trees
Danielle J. Lyles, The University of Texas at San Antonio; Todd Rosenstock, World Agroforestry Centre; Patrick H. Brown, University of California Davis; Alan Hastings, University of California, Davis
10:40 AM
 Convincing interpretations on different responses of rodent populations to acorn masting
Takashi Saitoh, Hokkaido University; Takuya Shimada, Forestry & Forest Products Res Inst
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