Abstract Detail

Lightning Talks – Germinating Ideas

Lewis, Isabeau [1], Friedman, Jannice [2].

Kin discrimination and plastic responses in growth and flowering.

Altruistic behaviour towards relatives can increase an individual’s fitness. However, kin selection requires two fundamental capabilities. First, individuals must have the capacity to distinguish between related and unrelated individuals, and second, they must have the ability to change their behaviour in response. These capacities in plants have been overlooked as a potential area for evolution. However, plasticity in growth and development in addition to the ability to detect neighbours’ identities may provide the conditions necessary for kin discrimination and its associated fitness benefit in plants. In a species that reproduces both sexually and clonally, we tested the predictions that a response to neighbouring kin would i) increase floral display, with higher rewards for attracting pollinators to the patch and ii) decrease vegetative and clonal growth, to reduce competition between relatives for resources. For this, we grew seed from 25 families from a population of perennial, greenhouse-adapted Mimulus guttatus (syn: Erythranthe guttata, Phrymaceae), which reproduces both sexually and clonally (via stolons). In each pot, we planted one central focal plant surrounded by four neighbours, which were either all selfed full-siblings, all outcrossed full siblings, or all unrelated. To quantify floral display, for each focal plant we measured flowering time, flower size, and node of first flower. For vegetative growth, we measured a suite of traits including leaf size, stolon length and number. We measured traits at 4, 6, and 9 weeks after germination followed by dry biomass of rosettes and stolons. We expect focal plants surrounded by self- and full sibling-neighbours to flower earlier with larger flowers, as well as fewer and smaller stolons, with more pronounced effects in the selfed treatment. In comparison, we expect focal plants in the unrelated treatment to invest more in stolon and vegetative growth in an attempt to crowd out their neighbours. Our results will contribute a novel perspective on the evolutionary strategy of kin discrimination in plants, and provide insight into the capacity for plasticity in response to relatedness of neighbours.

1 - Queen's University, Department of Biology, 116 Barrie St, Kingston, ON, K7L 3N6, CA
2 - Queen's University, Biology Department, 116 Barrie Street, Kingston, ON, K7L 3N6, Canada

kin selection
Mimulus guttatus
Mating system

Presentation Type: Germinating Ideas Lightning Talk
Number: LT2002
Abstract ID:919
Candidate for Awards:Ecological Section Best Undergraduate Presentation Award

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