Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2013, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (6): 481-491.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1258.2013.00050

• Research Articles •     Next Articles

Variations of seed morphology related to climate for Quercus variabilis across temperatesubtropical China

ZHOU Xuan1, HE Zheng-Biao2, KANG Hong-Zhang1, SUN Xiao1, and LIU Chun-Jiang1*   

  1. 1School of Agriculture and Biology, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai 200240, China;

    2School of Life Sciences, Changchun Normal University, Changchun 130000, China
  • Received:2013-01-23 Revised:2013-04-29 Online:2013-06-05 Published:2013-06-01
  • Contact: LIU Chun-Jiang


Aims Our objective was to reveal the pattern of variations in seed morphology in Quercus variabilis across temperate-subtropical China and to determine how they respond to climate change.
Methods Seed samples were collected from 20 natural Q. variabilis populations across eastern China in autumn 2011. Seed width (SW) and seed length (SL) were used as measures for seed size, and the ratio of width and length (SW/SL) for seed shape.
Important findings The SW and SL ranged from 1.21 to 2.18 cm and from 1.20 to 2.96 cm, respectively, and the SW/SL ratio ranged from 0.57 to 1.10. There were significant differences among the populations (p < 0.001). There was also a significant linear relationship between SW and SL. Seed length increased significantly with mean temperature of warmest month (MTW), decreased with precipitation of wettest quarter (PWQ), and displayed negative linear and humped-shape relationships with equivalent latitude (ELAT) and longitude (LON), respectively. Seed width had a significant positive correlation with MTW and negative correlation with PWQ. The SW/SL was almost constant along the latitude and climate gradients. These results have important implications for understanding how the morphology of seeds responds to climate change.

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