Reproductive and somatic effort in dogwoods
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Reproductive and Somatic Effort in Dogwoods. What is life history?. Grasses. Trees. vs. fast growth. slow growth. quick repro. delayed repro. An organism’s typical pattern of : Growth & Survival Reproduction. Components of Life History. SOMATIC effort E for growth/survival.

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Reproductive and Somatic Effort in Dogwoods

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Reproductive and somatic effort in dogwoods

Reproductive and Somatic Effort in Dogwoods

What is life history

What is life history?




fast growth

slow growth

quick repro

delayed repro

  • An organism’s typical pattern of :

    • Growth & Survival

    • Reproduction

Reproductive and somatic effort in dogwoods

Components of Life History

  • SOMATIC effort

  • E for growth/survival


  • E for reproduction


All organisms have limited energy; they allocate some energy to somatic effort & some to reproductive effort

somatic & reproductive effort = trade-off






LEAF buds


  • HOW do dogwood trees allocate their energy to SOMATIC and REPRODUCTIVE efforts?

  • Examine 3 theories on life history trade-off.

Phenotypic plasticity

Theory 1. Phenotypic plasticity

Phenotypic Plasticity

  • A single organism can have >1 phenotype

  • Depending on environment, 1 tree can have multiple life history patterns (differences in SOMATIC and REPRO effort within one tree)

Phenotypic plasticity1

Theory 2. Sunlight affects reproductive effort

Phenotypic Plasticity

  • Trees with greater annual energy available will have greater reproduction.

Age reproduction

Theory 3. Age affects reproduction

Age & Reproduction

  • All organisms need time for development before they begin to reproduce (mature)

Field methods

Field methods

Groups of 4 or 5

Go to either sunny or shady site (as assigned) and survey 20 trees.

1) Record number of leaf buds and flower buds per 40 buds on each tree. If you’re in the roadside environment, you’ll do 20 on the sunny side and 20 on the shady side. Data sheet is on page 37.

2) Measure the DBH (cm) of each tree trunk.

Dogwood identification winter

Dogwood Identification (Winter)


Flower buds


Leaf bud


Reproductive and somatic effort in dogwoods

Bark: dark brown with squarish, scaly blocks.

Young trees will be smooth and not as distinctive.

Terminal buds

Terminal Buds

Examples of different numbers of bud scales

Dogwood with two bud scales. Twigs are slender, green or purple.

Leaf scars

Leaf Scars

Terminal bud

Opposite leaf scars

Dogwood leaf scars are opposite, small, and encircle twig.

Example of alternate leaf scars

Dogwood identification

Dogwood Identification

Fruit: bright red, in clusters (late summer, fall)

Flowers: white, four petals (spring)

Leaves: opposite, veins curved

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