Just out in Plant Ecology: Briand et al 2014. Does fire regime influence life history traits of jack pine in the southern boreal forest of Québec, Canada?
This paper presents an analysis of a great data set that really needed to be published. These data had been shelved by the lead author for several years and a few limitations in the data, combined with rather subtle results, contributed to our struggle in finding a good outlet for the paper. On the other hand, it is pretty fun to have a paper coming out that involves data collected before my undergraduate students were born.
Our main take home message: we found an interesting exception to the overall pattern among pines in fire prone environments in which serotiny is generally associated with decreased investment in fire survival and earlier reproduction. We found that serotiny patterns among populations were consistent with fire regime, but that the less serotinous populations had earlier, rather than later, reproductive investment. These island populations experience frequent low severity and infrequent high severity fires and this precocious reproduction presumably evolved in response either relative immaturity risk or some combination of immaturity risk coupled with the temporal dynamics of suitable seedling establishment patches in this mixed fire regime.