Pollen discounting and the evolution of selfing in Arenaria uniflora (Caryophyllaceae)

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Although most models of mating system evolution assign a central role to the male transmission advantage of selfing genotypes, empirical data on the male fitness consequences of increased self-pollination are still uncommon. Here, I use measures of pollen import and export by focal plants in genotyped arrays to investigate the effects of floral morphology and pollination environment on self and outcross male function. Plants from an autogamous population of Arenaria uniflora (Caryophyllaceae) exhibit complete pollen discounting relative to closely related outcrossers, as do morphologically intermediate F1 hybrids between the two populations. However, the low cumulative male fitness of hybrids probably results from reduced pollen number or competitive ability, rather than a nonlinear relationship with floral morphology. When surrounded by selfers, plants from the outcrosser population self-fertilize at nearly the same rate as selfers (>80%), but have much lower self male fitness due to reduced fruit set. Because outcross siring success is also extremely low (<8%) in this treatment, these mate-limited outcrossers are at male fitness disadvantage to both pseudocleistogamous selfers and nonlimited outcrossers. The relative male fitness of plants with different mating systems appears dependent on the ecological context, as well as on morphological trade-offs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1558-1565
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000


  • Arenaria uniflora
  • Autogamy
  • Male fitness
  • Pollen discounting
  • Self-fertilization


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