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Title: A Comparison of the Sexual Systems in the Trees from the Australian tropics with Other Tropical Biomes: more monoecy but why?
Contributor(s): Gross, CL (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2005
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Abstract: Rainforests in tropical Australia occupy a very small, discontinuous area (<1% of the continent), yet they are floristically diverse (c. 2800 vascular species) with high endemicity. There is a distinctive Gondwanan and autochthonous element, and some of the world's ancestral links to the basal angiosperms are uniquely found here. The rainforests can be evergreen or deciduous, but there is a distinct dry season with intermittent drought years. With these characters, the evolutionary pressures on species may be very different to that experienced elsewhere. Sexual systems of 1113 tree species (83 families) from northern Australia were compared with published accounts from the paleo- and neotropics. Hermaphroditic systems dominated all tree floras, and within all floras but Australia dioecy was the most common unisexual system. In tropical Australia, however, significantly more monoecy than dioecy occurred at landscape and community levels. Incorporating phylogeny revealed that sex and fruit types are significantly clustered. The Euphorbiaceae and Sapindaceae contributed c. 50% of the monoecious taxa. Inefficient pollinators (e.g., beetles) may have favored the maintenance of monoecy at the expense of dioecy in the Australian tropics although, <1% of the flora has been studied for pollinators and none of the monoecious tree species.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: American Journal of Botany, 92(6), p. 907-919
Publisher: Botanical Society of America
Place of Publication: USA
ISSN: 0002-9122
Field of Research (FOR): 060207 Population Ecology
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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