Sink strength manipulation in branches of a Mediterranean woody plant suggests sink-driven allocation of biomass in fruits but not of nutrients in seeds Articles uri icon

publication date

  • July 2016

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 6


  • 8(193)


  • 38

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0137-5881

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1861-1664


  • The relative autonomy of branches within an individual plant may favor different resource allocation responses after reproductive losses. The assessment of these reproductive strategies at the branch level before their integration at the plant level would provide more insight into how plants deal with reproductive losses. Here, we present a field experiment to assess changes in the allocation strategies at the branch level after sink strength manipulation in a Mediterranean woody plant (Cistus ladanifer). We applied three levels of removal of developing fruits (75, 25 and 0 %) on branches of the same plants, and measured their effects on resource allocation (biomass, nitrogen and phosphorus) and seed production after controlling for the effects of branch diameter and leaf weight per branch. Our results suggest that after experimental fruit thinning, C. ladanifer branches presented a sink-driven allocation of biomass to fruits but this was not the case for the allocation of nutrients to seeds, which could be driven by competition with leaf biomass. Reductions in biomass per fruit resulted in a reduction in seed output since the average weight per seed remained constant. From these results, it could be suggested that an heterogeneous distribution of fruit losses among the branches within a crown would produce a higher impact on reproductive output than a more equitable distribution.


  • Mathematics


  • allocation; reproductive investment; phosphorus; nitrogen; trade-off; branch autonomy; cistus ladanifer; floral herbivory; pear trees; growth; compensation; autonomy; removal; shrub; size; reproduction