Diversity of sexual reproduction in high mountain plants

Diversity of sexual reproduction in high mountain plants

Plants inhabiting high altitudes must to be adapted to grow and propagate within a short period of time at low temperatures. In the mountains of the temperate zone, the length of the growing season decreases from 4-5 months at the timberline to 2 months and less at the upper limits of higher plant life.
Reproductive development, which is particularly susceptible to disturbances, requires a precisely coordinated timing of different processes from floral induction to seed maturation. These reproductive processes depend on both, the species-specific developmental pattern and on environmental factors - in particular on temperature and photoperiod.
To get a more in depth view of reproductive processes in high-mountain plants, the reproductive timing and the development dynamics were analysed on the basis of single flowers in a multi-year study on 11 abundant herbaceous plant species with different altitudinal distributions in the European Alps. Special focus was given to the influence of environmental factors (temperature and day length) and the relationship between reproductive strategy and altitudinal distribution. 

Funding
FWF  P15595 

Publications

  • LADINIG U., WAGNER J. (2005): Sexual reproduction of the high mountain plant Saxifraga moschata Wulfen at varying lengths of the growing season. Flora 200: 502-515.
  • LARL I., WAGNER J. (2006): Timing of reproductive and vegetative development in Saxifraga oppositifolia in an alpine and a subnival climate. Plant Biology 8: 155-166 
  • LADINIG U., WAGNER J. (2007): Timing of sexual reproduction and reproductive success in the high-mountain plant Saxifraga bryoides L. Plant Biology 9: 683-693. 
  • LADINIG U., WAGNER J. (2009): Dynamics of flower development and vegetative shoot growth in the high mountain plant Saxifraga bryoides L. Flora 204: 63-73.
  • WAGNER J., STEINACHER G., LADINIG U. (2010): Ranunculus glacialis L.: successful reproduction at the altitudinal limits of higher plant life. Protoplasma 243: 117-128. 
  • WAGNER J., LADINIG U., STEINACHER G., LARL I. (2012): From the flower bud to the mature seed: timing and dynamics of flower and seed development in high-mountain plants. In: Lütz C. (ed) Plants in Alpine Regions: Cell Physiology of Adaption and Survival Strategies. Springer, Wien, NewYork.
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