La Trobe

File(s) not publicly available

Effects of seed mass on seedling height and competition in European white oaks

journal contribution
posted on 2021-02-10, 23:16 authored by U Landergott, F Gugerli, Susan HoebeeSusan Hoebee, R Finkeldey, R Holderegger
The relationship between seed size and fitness in plants may depend on offspring density, especially in cases where seed size affects the outcome of competition. We investigated the relationship between seed mass, germination, intraspecific competition and seedling height in a glasshouse experiment on three European white oak species (Quercus robur, Q. petraea, Q. pubescens). Within offspring families, seed mass showed a moderate, but statistically significant effect on seedling height, i.e. seedlings from heavier seeds were slightly taller. In contrast, competition caused pronounced inequality in seedling height in pairs of competing seedlings, but in only 55.2% of all pairs the dominant competitor arose from the heavier seed. It is thus possible that a positive effect of seed mass on seedling growth can be mediated through the density of conspecific seedlings and that heterogeneity in offspring density will contribute to the maintenance of seed mass variation in oak populations. © 2012 Elsevier GmbH.


We thank local forest services for sampling permits, Anton Burkart for providing glasshouse facilities, Fabienne Bourquin and Annie Diarra for help with data acquisition and two anonymous referees for helpful comments on the manuscript. This study was funded by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment BAFU (project: protection and use of forest genetic resources).


Publication Date



Flora: Morphology, Distribution, Functional Ecology of Plants






(p. 721-725)





Rights Statement

The Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.