Fumino Maruo

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1. Terrestrial plant populations located at the margins of species’ distributions often display reduced sexual reproduction and an increased reliance on asexual reproduction. One hypothesis to explain this phenomenon is that the decline is associated with environmental effects on the energetic costs to produce reproductive organs. 2. In order to clarify the changing processes of sexual reproduction along an altitudinal gradient, we investigated the sexual reproductive parameters, such as the number of sporophytes and gametangia, in Racomitrium lanuginosum, a dioicous moss found on Mt. Fuji. Matured sporophytes were present only below 3000 m, and the number of sporophytes per shoot tended to be lower at higher altitudes. 3. The numbers of male inflorescences per shoot and antheridia per inflorescence and shoot significantly decreased with increasing altitude. In contrast, the numbers of female inflorescences per shoot and archegonia per inflorescence and shoot varied little across altitudes. 4. Synthesis. Our results suggest that the success of sexual reproduction in R. lanuginosum is restricted at higher altitudes on Mt. Fuji by decreases in male gametangia and the subsequent chance of fertilization. These differences between males and females may be caused by differences in the cost of production and development of gametangia, sensitivity to environmental stresses (low air temperature, shortened growth period, and environmental conditions in winter), and phenological patterns at higher altitudes.