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An Unexplored Side of Regeneration Niche: Seed Quantity and Quality Are Determined by the Effect of Temperature on Pollen Performance

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      Abstract

      In 1977, Peter Grubb introduced the regeneration niche concept, which assumes that a plant species cannot persist if the environmental conditions are only suitable for adult plant growth and survival, but not for seed production, dispersal, germination, and seedling establishment. During the last decade, this concept has received considerable research attention as it helps to better understand community assembly, population dynamics, and plant responses to environmental changes. Yet, in its present form, it focuses too much on the post-fertilization stages of plant sexual reproduction, neglecting the fact that the environment can operate as a constraint at many points in the chain of processes necessary for successful regeneration. In this review, we draw the attention of the plant ecology research community to the pre-fertilization stages of plant sexual reproduction, an almost ignored but important aspect of the regeneration niche, and their potential consequences for successful seed production. Particularly, we focus on how temperature affects pollen performance and determines plant reproduction success by playing an important role in the temporal and spatial variations in seed quality and quantity. We also review the pollen adaptations to temperature stresses at different levels of plant organization and discuss the plasticity of the performance of pollen under changing temperature conditions. The reviewed literature demonstrates that pre-fertilization stages of seed production, particularly the extreme sensitivity of male gametophyte performance to temperature, are the key determinants of a species’ regeneration niche. Thus, we suggest that previous views stating that the regeneration niche begins with the production of seeds should be modified to include the preceding stages. Lastly, we identify several gaps in pollen-related studies revealing a framework of opportunities for future research, particularly how these findings could be used in the field of plant biology and ecology.

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      THE MAINTENANCE OF SPECIES-RICHNESS IN PLANT COMMUNITIES: THE IMPORTANCE OF THE REGENERATION NICHE

       P. GRUBB (1977)
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        Flower and Fruit Abortion: Proximate Causes and Ultimate Functions

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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            1Chair of Ecology and Conservation Biology, University of Regensburg , Regensburg, Germany
            2Department of Life Sciences, University of Siena , Siena, Italy
            Author notes

            Edited by: Henry D. Adams, Oklahoma State University, United States

            Reviewed by: Catherine M. Hulshof, Virginia Commonwealth University, United States; Giovanna Aronne, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Italy

            *Correspondence: Sergey Rosbakh, Sergey.Rosbakh@ 123456ur.de

            This article was submitted to Functional Plant Ecology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Plant Science

            Contributors
            Journal
            Front Plant Sci
            Front Plant Sci
            Front. Plant Sci.
            Frontiers in Plant Science
            Frontiers Media S.A.
            1664-462X
            18 July 2018
            2018
            : 9
            6058057
            10.3389/fpls.2018.01036
            Copyright © 2018 Rosbakh, Pacini, Nepi and Poschlod.

            This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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            Figures: 0, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 219, Pages: 16, Words: 0
            Categories
            Plant Science
            Review

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