Anales del Jardín Botánico de Madrid, Vol 70, No 1 (2013)

Strong inbreeding depression and individually variable mating system in the narrow endemic Erodium cazorlanum (Geraniaceae)

Conchita Alonso
Estación Biológica de Doñana, CSIC (EBD-CSIC), Spain

Marina García-Sevilla
Estación Biológica de Doñana, CSIC (EBD-CSIC), Spain


Angiosperms evolved different systems to attract effective pollinators while reducing selfing in hermaphroditic flowers. Selfing ability can be advantageous when pollinators and/or mates are scarce, although inbreeding depression may largely reduce those advantages. Recent comparative analyses suggested endemic species tend to evolve self-compatibility but a better understanding of the associated reproductive and genetic tradeoffs is required. Experimental hand-pollinations under greenhouse conditions were conducted to investigate the selfing ability and estimate inbreeding depression up to the offspring’ first reproductive event in Ero dium cazorlanum, a narrow endemic species restricted to dolomite outcrops in SE Spanish mountains. We found autonomous selfing ineffective. Further, when experimentally applied, pollen of the same flower produced significantly fewer fruits and seeds compared to geitonogamous and cross pollinations. The number of seeds per fruit was significantly higher after cross pollinations and strong inbreeding depression accumulated through the life-cycle. Interestingly, individual plants exhibited broad variation in selfing ability with six out of 14 individuals producing no seed after geitonogamy. Understanding the consequences of individual variation in self compatibility deserves further investigation in the field now that we know that strong inbreeding depression may limit recruitment of selfed progeny.


endemism; geitonogamy; inbreeding depression; mating system; self compatibility; stigmatic pollen load

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