sex-specific physiology in plants

Janice M. Glime jmglime at
Mon Dec 2 19:35:14 EST 2002

There are some examples of this in bryophytes, but unfortunately I am
unable to cite references for you or be very specific.  There is a case
where males are more sensitive to lower temperatures so that only the
females are known in the north.  There are certainly differences in the
timing of the initiation of archegonia and antheridia, with antheridia
usually being the first to start development and often the last to
complete it.

A surprising effect of temperature is seen in the epiphytic Macromitrium.
Female protonemata can produce buds at 10oC, whereas male protonemata
require a lower temperature for bud formation (Une 1985).  This may be an
advantage in permitting the males to begin production of antheridia
sooner, but I know of no data addressing that.

Une, K.  1985.  Factors restricting the formation of normal male plants in
the isosporous species of Macromitrium (Musci:  Orthotrichaceae) in Japan.
J. Hattori Bot. Lab. 59: 523-529.

The causes for these differences may be as simple as having males arrive
at a much different point in time or from a different origin than the
females.  Since bryophytes can persist successfully from vegetative
reproduction, they could become quite widespread before they mixed their
genes with another clone origin.  Hence, two different temperature
adaptations is not really surprising after all.

 Janice M. Glime, Professor
 Department of Biological Sciences
 Michigan Technological University
 Houghton, MI 49931-1295
 jmglime at
 FAX 906-487-3167

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