Abstract Detail

Reproductive Processes

Thomas, Olivia [1], Johnson, Hayla [1], Blake-Mahmud, Jennifer [2].

Incidence of secondary sex characteristics in a native sex-changing tree species.

Separate sexes are present in approximately 6% of plant species. Sex in flowering plants is determined by the presence of gynoecia and androecia, but its effects are sometimes seen in other tissues, processes, or life-history traits. There are numerous examples of dioecious species with no secondary sex characteristics. However, when they do occur, secondary sex characteristics are thought to result from selection for different trait optima in males and females. Differences in microclimates and spatial segregation of sexes can often complicate studies of secondary sex characteristics in plants.  Here we report preliminary data investigating sex-based morphological or physiological  differences in the sexually labile tree, Acer pensylvanicum. This small understory tree is native to the northeastern United States and individuals may switch sex throughout their lives. Because of this ability, A. pensylvanicum offers a unique chance to investigate sexual dimorphism decoupled from the complications of sex-specific microclimates. We present field data on morphology (average leaf area, specific leaf area, and chlorophyll content), physiology (photosynthetic rate, stoichiometric ratios, and fluorescence), and demography (size, flowering sex, health, and mortality).

1 - Hope College, Biology, 35 East 12th Street, Schaap Science Center, Holland, MI, 49423, USA
2 - Hope College, Biology, 35 East 12th Street, 2025 Schaap Science Center, Holland, MI, 49423, United States

sex expression
sexual dimorphism 

Presentation Type: Poster
Number: PRP006
Abstract ID:595
Candidate for Awards:None

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