Sexual competition and kin recognition co-shape traits of neighboring
AbstractPlants respond differently to neighbor identity showing plasticity in
traits. However, solid experiment evidence on the functional traits of
dioecious trees shaped by the recognition of neighbors with different
gender and kinship is scarce. Here we examined the sexual and kinship
interactions in a dioecious tree species, Diospyros morrisiana, by
monoculturing and pair-culturing seedlings in a transparent gel system.
Our results showed that sex-specific competition and kin recognition
interacted and co-shaped the functional traits of D. morrisiana
seedlings, especially root traits, while intra-sexual and non-kin
neighbors facilitated the growth of seedlings. This implies kin- and
gender-interactions depend on different mechanisms, kin selection and
niche partitioning respectively, which is critical to understand how
species coexist and traits are shaped in the nature.