Nature beyond linearity: Meteorological variability and Jensen's Inequality can explain mast seeding behavior

Marcos Fernández-Martínez, Michal Bogdziewicz, Josep M. Espelta, Josep Peñuelas

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    9 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    © 2017 Fernández-Martínez, Bogdziewicz, Espelta and Peñuelas. Mast seeding, the extremely variable and synchronized production of fruits, is a common reproductive behavior in plants. Weather is centrally involved in driving masting. Yet, it is often claimed that it cannot be the sole proximate cause of masting because weather is less variable than fruit production and because the shape of their distributions differ. We used computer simulations to demonstrate that the assumption that weather cannot be the main driver of masting was only valid for linear relationships between weather and fruit production. Non-linear relationships between interannual variability in weather and crop size, however, can account for the differences in their variability and the shape of their distributions because of Jensen's inequality. Exponential relationships with weather can increase the variability of fruit production, and sigmoidal relationships can produce bimodal distributions. These results challenge the idea that meteorological variability cannot be the main proximate driver of mast seeding, returning meteorological variability to the forefront of masting research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number134
    JournalFrontiers in ecology and evolution
    Volume5
    Issue numberNOV
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017

    Keywords

    • Linearity
    • Masting
    • Plants
    • Reproduction
    • Seed production
    • Variability
    • Weather

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