Mating opportunity increases with synchrony of flowering among years more than synchrony within years in a nonmasting perennial

Amy Waananen*, Gretel Kiefer, Jennifer L. Ison, Stuart Wagenius

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


The timing and synchrony of mating activity in a population may vary both within and among years. With the exception of masting species, in which reproductive activity fluctuates dramatically among years, mating synchrony is typically studied within years. However, opportunities to mate also vary among years in nonmasting iteroparous species. We demonstrate that studying only within-year flowering synchrony fails to accurately quantify variation in mating opportunity in an experimental population (n p 286) of a nonmasting species, Echinacea angustifolia. We quantified individuals’ synchrony of flowering within and among years and partitioned the contribution of each measure to mean daily mating potential, the number of potential mates per individual per day, averaged over every day that it flowered during the 11-year study period. Individual within-and among-year synchrony displayed wide variation and were weakly correlated. In particular, among-year synchrony explained 39% more variation in mean daily mating potential than did within-year synchrony. Among-year synchrony could have underappreciated significance for mating dynamics in nonmasting species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-388
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018



  • Echinacea angustifolia
  • Masting
  • Mate limitation
  • Phenology
  • Reproductive fitness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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