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E-M:/ Masting; was: A dreadful year for acorns?

Enviro-Mich message from "John Rebers" <jrebers@nmu.edu>

An article on this topic appeared in the journal American Scientist last

American Scientist, July-August 2005 
Volume: 93 Number: 4 Page: 340 

The Mystery of Masting in Trees 
Some trees reproduce synchronously over large areas, with widespread
ecological effects, but how and why? 
Walter D. Koenig, Johannes M. H. Knops
Masting, driven by cues that are poorly understood, is a reproductive
pattern in which an entire population of organisms reproduce at once.
Populations that are widely separated-even on different continents-often
mast simultaneously. Our authors, drawing on their research on California
oaks, compare several explanations for the masting seen in several tree
species. Pollen and seed production may be synchronized across wide
geographic areas because of chemical or physical connections and large-scale
weather patterns. Masting might enhance pollination efficiency or impose a
satiation-starvation cycle on seed predators, providing evolutionary
advantages. Global warming may affect masting behavior, but the connections
are not yet clear.

John Rebers

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