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Habitat Assortment of Sexes and Water Balance in a Dioecious Grass

J. F. Fox and A. Tyrone Harrison
Oecologia
Vol. 49, No. 2 (1981), pp. 233-235
Published by: Springer in cooperation with International Association for Ecology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4216374
Page Count: 3
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Habitat Assortment of Sexes and Water Balance in a Dioecious Grass
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Abstract

For a dioecious plant species in which males are associated with more xeric habitats and females with more mesic ones, (a) the xeric-mesic habitat difference was confirmed by measuring plant water potential, (b) and males and females had similar water balances and seemed to have no different adaptations to drought. There are slight differences in water potential between the sexes of dioecious plant species, but water balance can be more favorable in either the male or the female. On this account, we reject the "disruptive selection" hypothesis of Freeman et al. (1975) as an explanation for habitat assortment of sexes in dioecious plants. Alternative explanations, based upon parental determination of offspring sex ratios, or environmentally determined sex change, seem more likely.

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