Plant strategies

Here the relation between genotype and phenotype is illustrated, using a Punnett square, for the character of petal colour in a pea plant. The letters B and b represent alleles for colour and the pictures show the resultant flowers. The diagram shows the cross between two heterozygous parents where B represents the dominant allele (purple) and b represents the recessive allele (white).

Plant strategies include mechanisms and responses plants use to reproduce, defend, survive, and compete on the landscape.

- Plant strategies

3 related topics


R/K selection theory

Organism that trade off between quantity and quality of offspring.

A North Atlantic right whale with solitary calf. Whale reproduction follows a K-selection strategy, with few offspring, long gestation, long parental care, and a long period until sexual maturity.
A litter of rats with their mother. The reproduction of rats follows an r-selection strategy, with many offspring, short gestation, less parental care, and a short time until sexual maturity.
A bald eagle, an individual of a typical K-strategist species. K-strategists have longer life expectancies, produce fewer offspring and tend to be altricial, requiring extensive care by parents when young.

The terminology of r/K-selection was coined by the ecologists Robert MacArthur and E. O. Wilson in 1967 based on their work on island biogeography; although the concept of the evolution of life history strategies has a longer history (see e.g. plant strategies).

Universal adaptive strategy theory

Evolutionary theory developed by J. Philip Grime in collaboration with Simon Pierce describing the general limits to ecology and evolution based on the trade-off that organisms face when the resources they gain from the environment are allocated between either growth, maintenance or regeneration – known as the universal three-way trade-off.

Plants with an S-strategy: In the foreground Juncus effusus, and behind that Vaccinium uliginosum, Athyrium filix-femina and Betula pubescens. Bog habitat in Tversted Plantation, Denmark.

A universal three-way trade-off produces adaptive strategies throughout the tree of life, with extreme strategies facilitating the survival of genes via: C (competitive), the survival of the individual using traits that maximize resource acquisition and resource control in consistently productive niches; S (stress-tolerant), individual survival via maintenance of metabolic performance in variable and unproductive niches; or R (ruderal), rapid gene propagation via rapid completion of the lifecycle and regeneration in niches where events are frequently lethal to the individual.

Mark Westoby

Australian evolutionary ecologist, Emeritus Professor at Macquarie University, a specialist in trait ecology.

Seal of Macquarie University

He is best known for an approach to ecological strategy schemes that arranges plant species along dimensions of measurable traits.