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Resource Allocation Research Papers

Resource supply and pollen delivery are often thought to equally limit seed production in animal-pollinated plants. At equilibrium, plants should show no response to experimental pollen supplementation because resources limit seed set... more

Resource supply and pollen delivery are often thought to equally limit seed production in animal-pollinated plants. At equilibrium, plants should show no response to experimental pollen supplementation because resources limit seed set above the current level of pollen attraction, while experimental reduction in pollen deposition below the equilibrium level would reduce seed set. The predicted equilibrium may be disrupted, however, if plants expend additional energy to replenish removed nectar. We investigated the combined effects of nectar removal and pollen delivery on female reproductive success of Penstemon roseus (Plantaginaceae), a hummingbird-pollinated plant that replenishes removed nectar. We first documented that the frequency of experimental nectar removal was correlated with total nectar secretion; and increased frequency of nectar removal resulted in increased female reproductive costs to the plant. Trade-offs between investing resources in nectar and investing resources in seeds were then investigated in two contrasting natural populations by removing nectar from flowers at increasing frequencies while simultaneously hand-pollinating flowers with increasing amounts of pollen. Seed set was lowest at low levels of pollen deposition, highest at medium-sized pollen loads, and intermediate when pollen loads were highest. At both sites, the frequency of nectar removal and pollen deposition had an interactive effect on seed production, in that intermediate levels of nectar removal result in the absolute highest seed set, but only at intermediate pollen loads. At high pollen loads, seed set was higher following little to no nectar removal, and at low pollen loads, all rates of nectar removal affected fecundity equally. Seed mass responded to nectar removal and pollination differently than did seed set. High levels of nectar removal and pollen delivery both lowered seed mass, with little interaction between main effects. Our findings are among the first to demonstrate that nectar replenishment costs and pollination intensity jointly affect seed production. This conflict between nectar replenishment costs and pollen-limiting factors results in trade-offs between pollinator attraction and seed provisioning. Thus, resource allocation towards nectar production should more often be considered in future studies of pollen limitation.

Bringing ‘Lean’ Principles to Service Industries

Toyota and other top manufacturing companies have embraced, improved, and profited by lean production methods. But the payoffs have not been nearly as dramatic for service industries applying lean principles. HBS professor David Upton and doctoral student Bradley Staats look at the experience of Indian software services provider Wipro for answers. Key concepts include: In terms of operations and improvements, the service industries in general are a long way behind manufacturing. Not all lean manufacturing ideas translate from factory floor to office cubicle. A lean operating system alters the way a company learns through changes in problem solving, coordination through connections, and pathways and standardization. Successful lean operations at Wipro involved a small rollout, reducing hierarchies, continuous improvement, sharing mistakes, and specialized tools. Closed for comment; 0 Comment(s) posted.