Abstract Detail



Botanical foundations for perennial agriculture: Evolution and ecology of perennial herbaceous plants

Rubin, Matthew [1], Friedman, Jannice [1].

Intraspecific variation in paths to fitness in plants with different life histories.

Variable environments have the capacity to produce dramatic changes in plant life-history strategies. This can be due to divergence in suites of traits through selection for alternative alleles across ecological gradients. Moreover, both spatial and temporal heterogeneity can affect fitness contributions through sexual and clonal reproduction. In the western North American wildflower, Mimulus guttatus (now Erythranthe guttata), the different ecotypic groups exhibit differences in relative allocation to sexual (flowers) and clonal reproduction (stolons). Total fitness in annuals depends on only sexual reproduction in contrast to perennials that reproduce both sexually and clonally. To investigate phenotypic and genetic changes associated with alternative strategies, we grew three F4 mapping populations in the field within the species’ native range (Vancouver Island, BC, Canada). The three mapping populations shared a maternal parent, derived from a northern perennial population, with each cross using one of three genetically distinct paternal parents, derived from populations spanning the geographic and life history variation (annual, coastal, or inland perennial). We collected phenological, morphological and fitness data over multiple years to characterize allocation to alternative modes of fitness. There was considerable variation in allocation to sexual and clonal reproduction and overwinter survival within and across parents and mapping populations. Annual and annual-like plants flowered earlier and allocated less resources to clonal reproduction than perennial plants. The timing of flowering significantly affected fitness through both sexual and clonal reproduction. Notably, the number of flowers that successfully produced seed varied across years, suggesting that allocation to sexual reproduction may not always yield reproductive success. This multi-year field experiment decomposes routes to fitness in annuals and perennials and shows that environmental heterogeneity can help maintain both strategies, and that the benefit of perenniality accrues through future reproduction balanced with the risks associated with survival.   


1 - Syracuse University, Department of Biology, 107 College Place, LSC Room 114, Syracuse, NY, 13244, USA

Keywords:
fitness
plant life history
life history strategy
Sexual and asexual fitness.

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Number: 0001
Abstract ID:357
Candidate for Awards:None


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