Drivers of synchrony of acorn production in the valley oak (Quercus lobata) at two spatial scales

Walter D. Koenig*, Johannes M.H. Knops, Mario B. Pesendorfer, David N. Zaya, Mary V. Ashley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated spatial synchrony of acorn production by valley oaks (Quercus lobata) among individual trees at the within-population, local level and at the among-population, statewide level spanning the geographic range of the species. At the local level, the main drivers of spatial synchrony were water availability and flowering phenology of individual trees, while proximity, temperature differences between trees, and genetic similarity failed to explain a significant proportion of variance in spatial synchrony. At the statewide level, annual rainfall was the primary driver, while proximity was significant by itself but not when controlling for rainfall; genetic similarity was again not significant. These results support the hypothesis that environmental factors, the Moran effect, are key drivers of spatial synchrony in acorn production at both small and large geographic scales. The specific environmental factors differed depending on the geographic scale, but were in both cases related to water availability. In addition, flowering phenology, potentially affecting either density-independent pollination failure (the pollination Moran effect) or density-dependent pollination efficiency (pollen coupling), plays a key role in driving spatial synchrony at the local geographic scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3056-3062
Number of pages7
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Moran effect
  • Quercus lobata
  • acorn production
  • masting
  • phenology
  • spatial synchrony

Cite this