Evolutionary potential of Chamaecrista fasciculata in relation to climate change. I. Clinal patterns of selection along an environmental gradient in the great plains

Evolution; International Journal of Organic Evolution
Julie R Etterson


Climate change will alter natural selection on native plant populations. Little information is available to predict how selection will change in the future and how populations will respond. Insight can be obtained by comparing selection regimes in current environments to selection regimes in environments similar to those predicted for the future. To mimic predicted temporal change in climate, three natural populations of the annual legume Chamaecrista fasciculata were sampled from a climate gradient in the Great Plains and progeny of formal crosses were reciprocally planted back into common gardens across this climate gradient. In each garden, native populations produced significantly more seed than the other populations, providing strong evidence of local adaptation. Phenotypic selection analysis conducted by site showed that plants with slower reproductive development, more leaves, and thicker leaves were favored in the most southern garden. Evidence of clinal variation in selection regimes was also found; selection coefficients were ordered according to the latitude of the common gardens. The adaptive value of native traits was indicated by selection toward the mean of local populations. Repeated clinal patterns in linear an...Continue Reading


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