Phenology of Ficus variegata in a seasonal wet tropical forest at Cape Tribulation, Australia

Hugh Spencer, George Weiblen, Brigitta Flick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We studied the phenology of 198 mature trees of the dioecious fig Ficus variegata Blume (Moraceae) in a seasonally wet tropical rain forest at Cape Tribulation, Australia, from March 1988 to February 1993. Leaf production was highly seasonal and correlated with rainfall. Trees were annually deciduous, with a pronounced leaf drop and a pulse of new growth during the August September drought. At the population level, figs were produced continually throughout the study but there were pronounced annual cycles in fig abundance. Figs were least abundant during the early dry period (June September) and most abundant from the late dry season (October November) through the wet season (December April). The annual peak in reproduction actually reflected two staggered peaks arising from gender differences in fig phenology. In this dioecious species, female and male trees initiated their maximal fig crops at different times and flowering was to some extent synchronized within sexes. Fig production in the female (seed-producing) trees was typically confined to the wet season. Male (wasp-producing) trees were less synchronized than female trees but reached a peak level of fig production in the months prior to the onset of female fig production. Male trees were also more likely to produce figs continually. Asynchrony among male fig crops during the dry season could maintain the pollinator population under adverse conditions through within- and among-tree wasp transfers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-475
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biogeography
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1996

Fingerprint

Ficus
figs
phenology
tropical forests
tropical forest
wasp
wet season
dry season
crop
pollinator
annual cycle
flowering
Moraceae
gender
tropical rain forests
crops
drought
gender differences
pollinators
seed

Keywords

  • Australia
  • Cape Tribulation
  • Ficus variegata
  • dioecy
  • figs
  • flowering asynchrony
  • phenology
  • seasonality

Cite this

Phenology of Ficus variegata in a seasonal wet tropical forest at Cape Tribulation, Australia. / Spencer, Hugh; Weiblen, George; Flick, Brigitta.

In: Journal of Biogeography, Vol. 23, No. 4, 07.1996, p. 467-475.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{9d0aba0facb9480d97ee352b995b4e73,
title = "Phenology of Ficus variegata in a seasonal wet tropical forest at Cape Tribulation, Australia",
abstract = "We studied the phenology of 198 mature trees of the dioecious fig Ficus variegata Blume (Moraceae) in a seasonally wet tropical rain forest at Cape Tribulation, Australia, from March 1988 to February 1993. Leaf production was highly seasonal and correlated with rainfall. Trees were annually deciduous, with a pronounced leaf drop and a pulse of new growth during the August September drought. At the population level, figs were produced continually throughout the study but there were pronounced annual cycles in fig abundance. Figs were least abundant during the early dry period (June September) and most abundant from the late dry season (October November) through the wet season (December April). The annual peak in reproduction actually reflected two staggered peaks arising from gender differences in fig phenology. In this dioecious species, female and male trees initiated their maximal fig crops at different times and flowering was to some extent synchronized within sexes. Fig production in the female (seed-producing) trees was typically confined to the wet season. Male (wasp-producing) trees were less synchronized than female trees but reached a peak level of fig production in the months prior to the onset of female fig production. Male trees were also more likely to produce figs continually. Asynchrony among male fig crops during the dry season could maintain the pollinator population under adverse conditions through within- and among-tree wasp transfers.",
keywords = "Australia, Cape Tribulation, Ficus variegata, dioecy, figs, flowering asynchrony, phenology, seasonality",
author = "Hugh Spencer and George Weiblen and Brigitta Flick",
year = "1996",
month = "7",
doi = "10.1111/j.1365-2699.1996.tb00008.x",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "23",
pages = "467--475",
journal = "Journal of Biogeography",
issn = "0305-0270",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Phenology of Ficus variegata in a seasonal wet tropical forest at Cape Tribulation, Australia

AU - Spencer, Hugh

AU - Weiblen, George

AU - Flick, Brigitta

PY - 1996/7

Y1 - 1996/7

N2 - We studied the phenology of 198 mature trees of the dioecious fig Ficus variegata Blume (Moraceae) in a seasonally wet tropical rain forest at Cape Tribulation, Australia, from March 1988 to February 1993. Leaf production was highly seasonal and correlated with rainfall. Trees were annually deciduous, with a pronounced leaf drop and a pulse of new growth during the August September drought. At the population level, figs were produced continually throughout the study but there were pronounced annual cycles in fig abundance. Figs were least abundant during the early dry period (June September) and most abundant from the late dry season (October November) through the wet season (December April). The annual peak in reproduction actually reflected two staggered peaks arising from gender differences in fig phenology. In this dioecious species, female and male trees initiated their maximal fig crops at different times and flowering was to some extent synchronized within sexes. Fig production in the female (seed-producing) trees was typically confined to the wet season. Male (wasp-producing) trees were less synchronized than female trees but reached a peak level of fig production in the months prior to the onset of female fig production. Male trees were also more likely to produce figs continually. Asynchrony among male fig crops during the dry season could maintain the pollinator population under adverse conditions through within- and among-tree wasp transfers.

AB - We studied the phenology of 198 mature trees of the dioecious fig Ficus variegata Blume (Moraceae) in a seasonally wet tropical rain forest at Cape Tribulation, Australia, from March 1988 to February 1993. Leaf production was highly seasonal and correlated with rainfall. Trees were annually deciduous, with a pronounced leaf drop and a pulse of new growth during the August September drought. At the population level, figs were produced continually throughout the study but there were pronounced annual cycles in fig abundance. Figs were least abundant during the early dry period (June September) and most abundant from the late dry season (October November) through the wet season (December April). The annual peak in reproduction actually reflected two staggered peaks arising from gender differences in fig phenology. In this dioecious species, female and male trees initiated their maximal fig crops at different times and flowering was to some extent synchronized within sexes. Fig production in the female (seed-producing) trees was typically confined to the wet season. Male (wasp-producing) trees were less synchronized than female trees but reached a peak level of fig production in the months prior to the onset of female fig production. Male trees were also more likely to produce figs continually. Asynchrony among male fig crops during the dry season could maintain the pollinator population under adverse conditions through within- and among-tree wasp transfers.

KW - Australia

KW - Cape Tribulation

KW - Ficus variegata

KW - dioecy

KW - figs

KW - flowering asynchrony

KW - phenology

KW - seasonality

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0030302882&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0030302882&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1111/j.1365-2699.1996.tb00008.x

DO - 10.1111/j.1365-2699.1996.tb00008.x

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:0030302882

VL - 23

SP - 467

EP - 475

JO - Journal of Biogeography

JF - Journal of Biogeography

SN - 0305-0270

IS - 4

ER -