Fathers, fruits and photosynthesis: Pollen donor effects on fruit photosynthesis in wild parsnip

Arthur R. Zangerl, May R. Berenbaum, Evan H. DeLucia, James K. Nitao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chlorophyll is frequently present in plant reproductive tissues and indicates that photosynthesis is occurring in these parts. Photosynthesis by a reproductive organ can contribute as much as 65% to its own growth. Given the advantages that increased photosynthetic rates might have on development of individual seeds competing for resources, selection can be expected to favour the ability of offspring to influence photosynthetic rates of the tissues surrounding them. We report in this study the first evidence that the pollen genotype can influence the rate of photosynthesis in the fruit tissues surrounding the developing offspring. Using a novel chlorophyll fluorescence imaging instrument to quantify quantum efficiency of photosystem II, we found significant differences in photosynthetic rates among fruits in wild parsnip, Pastinaca sativa L, associated with different pollen genotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)966-970
Number of pages5
JournalEcology Letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2003


  • Competition
  • Fruits
  • Furanocoumarins
  • Kin conflict
  • Pastinaca sativa
  • Photosynthesis
  • Pollen parent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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