UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Fresh and Dry Weight Relations Are Predictors of Cycas micronesica Seed Age Marler, Thomas E.; Shaw, Christopher A.


Cycas micronesica is a foundation species in several Micronesian islands and its seeds have been a historical source of starch for the island residents. The species has become endangered by invasive specialist insect herbivores and conservationists struggle with the inability to estimate the age of observed seeds. To inform this agenda, we evaluated numerous Cycas micronesica seed traits to determine if any exhibited a relationship with age and a substantial change in absolute value. Of the 30 direct and derived seed traits that we evaluated, most of them were non-linear and exhibited minimal change after about 12 months in age. The only traits that emerged as unambiguous estimators of age were the quotients derived as gametophyte fresh weight/total seed fresh weight and sarcotesta dry weight/sclerotesta dry weight. These two simple metrics can be used to accurately estimate seed age for this arborescent cycad species.

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