Plant age at the time of ozone exposure affects flowering patterns, biotic interactions and reproduction of wild mustard

Laura Duque*, Erik H. Poelman, Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Exposure of plants to environmental stressors can modify their metabolism, interactions with other organisms and reproductive success. Tropospheric ozone is a source of plant stress. We investigated how an acute exposure to ozone at different times of plant development affects reproductive performance, as well as the flowering patterns and the interactions with pollinators and herbivores, of wild mustard plants. The number of open flowers was higher on plants exposed to ozone at earlier ages than on the respective controls, while plants exposed at later ages showed a tendency for decreased number of open flowers. The changes in the number of flowers provided a good explanation for the ozone-induced effects on reproductive performance and on pollinator visitation. Ozone exposure at earlier ages also led to either earlier or extended flowering periods. Moreover, ozone tended to increase herbivore abundance, with responses depending on herbivore taxa and the plant age at the time of ozone exposure. These results suggest that the effects of ozone exposure depend on the developmental stage of the plant, affecting the flowering patterns in different directions, with consequences for pollination and reproduction of annual crops and wild species.

Original languageEnglish
Article number23448
JournalScientific Reports
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2021

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