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Experimental Evidence That Selection Favors Character Displacement in the Ivyleaf Morning Glory

Robin Ann Smith and Mark D. Rausher
The American Naturalist
Vol. 171, No. 1 (January 2008), pp. 1-9
DOI: 10.1086/523948
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/523948
Page Count: 9
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Experimental Evidence That Selection Favors Character Displacement in the Ivyleaf Morning Glory
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Abstract

Abstract: While there is abundant evidence to suggest that pollinators influence the evolution of plant floral traits, there is little direct evidence that interactions between plant species shape the evolution of such characteristics. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the presence of the morning glory Ipomoea purpurea alters patterns of selection on floral traits of its congener, Ipomoea hederacea. We show that while selection on I. hederacea floral traits is effectively neutral when I. purpurea flowers are absent, selection acts to increase clustering of anthers about the stigma when I. purpurea flowers are present. Our results provide direct experimental evidence that the presence of flowers of a co‐occurring congener can influence patterns of natural selection on floral traits that influence the mating system and contribute to prezygotic isolation. To the extent that this result is general, it also lends support to the claim that distributional patterns interpreted as ecological and reproductive character displacement in other plant species have been caused by natural selection generated by interactions among plant species.

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