Comparative phenology of mistletoes shows effect of different host species and temporal niche partitioning

Luíza Teixeira-Costa, Fábio Machado Coelho, Gregório Cardoso Tápias Ceccantini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The study of plant phenology deals with seasonal events and how these are influenced by environmental factors, including symbiotic interactions. Considering host-mistletoe associations, our goal was to analyze the potential effects of host tree deciduousness on the life cycle of a mistletoe. Thus, Struthanthus martianus Dettke & Waechter was analyzed while growing upon a deciduous host tree and upon an evergreen one. We also compared the phenology of S. martianus with that of a closely related and sympatric species, Struthanthus flexicaulis (Mart. ex Schult. f.) Mart., growing upon a different but also evergreen host. Reproductive and vegetative phenological events were recorded during a three year period following a semiquantitative method. Circular statistical analysis was employed to compare phenological patterns. The peak of leaf production in S. martianus was observed to depend on host deciduousness, as the population infesting a deciduous host showed significant leaf flush during host defoliation. When comparing S. martianus and S. flexicaulis, nearly opposite patterns of flowering and fruiting phenology were recorded. Based on these observations, we conclude that Struthanthus species show niche partitioning to avoid competition. Additionally, we observed that the relationship established with different hosts can alter the mistletoe phenology. This observation highlights the uniqueness of the each host-mistletoe relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-282
Number of pages12
JournalBotany
Volume95
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Professor David Shaw for the invitation to contribute to this special issue, and Professor Leonor Patricia Cerdeira Morellato for productive discussions during the data collection. We also thank colleagues from the Laboratory of Plant Anatomy at the University of São Paulo who helped and supported us during this work in any way. Financial support was provided by the São Paulo Research Foundation (grant number 2011/00102-2) and by National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development (productivity grant number 307041/2014-0).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Canadian Science Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright:
Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Host-parasite relationship
  • Loranthaceae
  • Parasitic plant
  • Urban tree phenology

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