The influence of light on paternal plants in Campanula Americana (Campanulaceae): Pollen characteristics and offspring traits

Julie R. Etterson, Laura F. Galloway

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36 Scopus citations


Offspring trait expression is determined by the combination of parental genes and parental environments. Although maternal environmental effects have been widely characterized, few studies have focused on paternal environmental effects. To determine whether light availability influences pollen and offspring traits in the woodland herb Campanula americana, we reared clones of 12 genotypes in two light levels. In the parental generation we measured pollen number and size. Plants grown under high light produced more pollen grains per flower than those grown under low light. However, the response was genotype specific; some individuals responded little to changes in light availability while others substantially reduced pollen production. As a consequence, paternity ratios may vary between light environments if more pollen is associated with greater siring success. We crossed a subset of these plants to produce the offspring generation. The paternal and maternal light environments influenced offspring seed mass, percentage germination, and days to germination, while only maternal light levels influenced later life traits, such as leaf number and size. Maternal and paternal environmental effects had opposite influences on seed mass, percentage germination and days to germination. Finally, there was no direct relationship between light effects on pollen production and offspring trait expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1899-1906
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of botany
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002


  • Campanula americana
  • Campanulaceae
  • Germination
  • Maternal effects
  • Maternal environmental effects
  • Paternal environmental effects
  • Plasticity to light
  • Pollen number


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