Unstable, self-limiting thermochemical temperature oscillations in Macrozamia cycads

Plant Cell Environ. 2008 Jun;31(6):769-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.2008.01795.x. Epub 2008 Feb 5.


Field measurements and laboratory experiments on the Australian cycads Macrozamia lucida and Macrozamia macleayi demonstrate that their cones' diel peak thermogenic temperature increase varies systematically with cone stage, with single thermogenic temperature peaks occurring daily for up to 2 weeks and reaching 12 degrees C above ambient at midstage. The initiation, magnitude and timing of those peaks are strongly modulated by ambient temperature; the period between successive thermogenic temperature peaks is not circadian, and light is neither necessary nor sufficient to initiate a thermogenic event. A mathematical analysis is developed that provides a unified explanation of the experimental results. It describes these unstable, self-limiting thermogenic events in terms of conservation of energy and a first-order chemical reaction rate model that includes an Arrhenius equation dependence of the cone's metabolic heating rate on the cone temperature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Cycadopsida / physiology*
  • Light
  • Pollination
  • Reproduction
  • Temperature*
  • Time Factors