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Are males cheaper than females? Male and female costs of reproduction

In this TIEE experiment, students investigate the costs of reproduction. In dioecious plants, a female's investment in reproduction is typically much greater than a male's, because while both sexes encounter the basic cost to produce a flower, only females have to allocate energy to seeds, exceeding the energy requirements to produce pollen. This 1-2 week field project tests whether the effects of these unequal costs are reflected in characteristics of individuals of functionally dioecious and long-lived Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) in the field. Students will read two introductory articles and take a pre-project online quiz, collect the data in the field, analyze it, collect and interpret literature sources and will write a short report.
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Primary or BEN resource type
Discipline Specific Core Concepts
Life science discipline (subject)
Keywords plant ecology, cost of reproduction, sex change, size class, forest herb, dioecy, sequential hermaphroditism, seed production
Key taxa Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)
Intended End User Role
Educational Language
Pedagogical Use Description This field activity could be used in two ways: (1) in a third-year ecology course for 12-16 undergraduate students using the instructions as outlined in the present document, where students cooperatively collect their data in groups of two, and (2) in third to fourth year, two-week summer field course setting as an individual student project. In the latter setting, the project approach could be more inquiry-based.
Primary Author Controlled Name
Primary Author Affiliation Department of Biological Sciences, University of Toronto at Scarborough, 1265 Military Trail, Toronto, ON, Canada, M1C 1A4
Primary Author email
Rights 2011 - Ivana Stehlik and Christina Thomsen and the Ecological Society of America
Date Of Record Submission 2011-08-29

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