Evol Ecol Res 5: 79-88 (2003)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

An allometric model for seed plant reproduction

Karl J. Niklas1* and Brian J. Enquist2

1Department of Plant Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853 and 2Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 87519, USA

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: kjn2@cornell.edu


An allometric framework is used to construct a model for seed plant annual reproductive biomass based on standing leaf, stem and root biomass. According to this model, the scaling of reproduction is governed by numerous taxon-specific scaling exponents and constants that reflect the allometry of vegetative biomass partitioning. Although this allometry cannot be predicted a priori, the model accurately predicts all observed inter- and intraspecific reproductive biomass trends based on the exponents and constants determined for a worldwide database representative of herbaceous and tree-sized dicot, monocot and conifer species growing in diverse habitats. The model also identifies the body proportions for which reproduction is energetically untenable. The limits for seed plant reproductive biomass are thus established, providing a conceptual and quantitative basis for understanding the scaling of reproductive capacity across and within ecologically and evolutionarily diverse spermatophytes.

Keywords: allometry, plants, reproductive biomass, scaling, vegetative biomass.

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