TitleMaternal effects alter progeny's response to disturbance and nutrients in two Plantago species
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsLatzel, V, Klimesova, J, Hajek, T, Gomez, S, Smilauer, P

Environmental stress leading to a decrease in growth may be compensated for later in ontogeny by a growth plastic response. Such response could be also transmitted to the next generation, which is called transgenerational plasticity. In this study, two Plantago species were used to test whether compensation for biomass loss after disturbance is driven by maternal effects (ME) due to nutrients and disturbance, i.e. by the form of transgenerational plasticity. Additionally, we tested whether ME could contribute to a different performance of progeny having different disturbance histories. We also tested whether ME are adaptive and whether they differ between related species. The degree of (over) compensation for biomass loss was affected by ME. Maternal effects resulted in different performance of disturbed over undisturbed progeny in relation to nutrient status of the progeny environment along with disturbance and nutrients experienced by mothers. Progeny of P. lanceolata grew more leaf biomass when grown in the same nutrient conditions as experienced by their mothers suggesting that maternal effects might be adaptive. Although overall, there was a consistent role of ME in biomass compensation after disturbance among the two species, there were also some species-specific effects. We conclude that compensation for biomass loss is driven both by maternal effects and by progeny environment. This may lead to the different success of regenerative strategies in environments with contrasting nutrient levels. The different role of ME even between related species may contribute to ecological diversity among species.