Reproductive Maturity in Plants

I presented a poster at this years Ecological Society of Australia Conference, held in Adelaide.  My poster presented my initial ideas for writing a review on reproductive maturity in plants, how this term is quantified and how these data are used in management.  ESA has fabulous student prizes each year (, and I was fortunate enough to take home a prize from the Australian Flora Foundation, Thanks!



Thirty years after Noble and Slatyer’s (1980) use of minimal demographic data to predict species replacement sequences and vegetation response to recurrent disturbances, ecologists are still ignorant of basic knowledge of life history characteristics for many plant species, and managers are still asking for it.  While qualitative data are reasonably widely available, quantitative data on species life history characteristics are often lacking despite being fundamentally useful for quantifying growth rates and ‘age to reproductive maturity’ for use in ecological fire management.

‘Reproductive maturity’ is a central concept for predicting species responses to disturbance, yet is linguistically vague with uncertainties surrounding what to measure, when, why and how to quantify it. Different types of data can be modelled in different ways.  The probability of reproduction to plant size through logistic regression, if fecundity is directly measured, we can characterise reproductive output with a sigmoid curve, or do both using a ‘hurdle’ model which combines probabilities of being reproductively mature with sized-based estimates of expected reproductive output.  The different data types and the different modelling approaches give us more or less flexible inference that can be used for management.

Please get in touch if you are interested in any of these ideas!

And yes, all photos are my own… and that massive flower took a long time to make!


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