Supplementary material from "By wind or wing: pollination syndromes and alternate bearing in horticultural systems"

Posted on 15.09.2021 - 07:23
Cyclical fluctuations in reproductive output are widespread among perennial plants, from multi-year masting cycles in forest trees to alternate bearing in horticultural crops. In natural systems, ecological drivers such as climate and pollen limitation can result in synchrony among plants. Agricultural practices are generally assumed to outweigh ecological drivers that might synchronize alternate-bearing individuals, but this assumption has not been rigorously assessed and little is known about the role of pollen limitation as a driver of synchrony in alternate-bearing crops. We tested whether alternate-bearing perennial crops show signs of alternate bearing at a national scale and whether the magnitude of national-scale alternate bearing differs across pollination syndromes. We analysed the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations time series (1961–2018) of national crop yields across the top-producing countries of 27 alternate-bearing taxa, 6 wind-pollinated and 21 insect-pollinated. The alternate bearing was common in these national data and more pronounced in wind-pollinated taxa which exhibited a more negative lag-1 autocorrelation and a higher CV. We highlight the mutual benefits of integrating ecological theory and agricultural data for (i) advancing our understanding of perennial plant reproduction across time, space and taxa, and (ii) promoting stable farmer livelihoods and global food supply.This article is part of the theme issue ‘The ecology and evolution of synchronized seed production in plants’.

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Garcia, Gabriela; Re, Bridget; Orians, Colin; Crone, Elizabeth (2021): Supplementary material from "By wind or wing: pollination syndromes and alternate bearing in horticultural systems". The Royal Society. Collection. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.5619068.v1
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