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Differential impacts of adult trees on offspring and non-offspring recruits in a subtropical forest
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Wang F, Mi XC, Chen L, Xu WB, Durka W, Swenson NG, Johnson DJ, Worthy SJ, Xue JH, Zhu Y, Schmid B, Liang Y*, Ma KP*
PubYear : 2022
Volume :   Issue : 
Publication Name : Science China Life Sciences
Page number : DOI:10.1007/s11427-021-2148-7
Abstract : 

An important mechanism promoting species coexistence is conspecific negative density dependence (CNDD), which inhibits conspecific neighbors by accumulating host-specific enemies near adult trees. Natural enemies may be genotype-specific and regulate offspring dynamics more strongly than non-offspring, which is often neglected due to the difficulty in ascertaining genetic relatedness. Here, we investigated whether offspring and non-offspring of a dominant species, Castanopsis eyrei, suffered from different strength of CNDD based on parentage assignment in a subtropical forest. We found decreased recruitment efficiency (proxy of survival probability) of offspring compared with non-offspring near adult trees during the seedling-sapling transition, suggesting genotype-dependent interactions drive tree demographic dynamics. Furthermore, the genetic similarity between individuals of same cohort decreased in late life history stages, indicating genetic-relatedness-dependent tree mortality throughout ontogeny. Our results demonstrate that within-species genetic relatedness significantly affects the strength of CNDD, implying genotype-specific natural enemies may contribute to population dynamics in natural forests.

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