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Response to Natural Environmental Heterogeneity: Maternal Effects and Selection on Life-History Characters and Plasticities in Mimulus guttatus

Laura F. Galloway
Evolution
Vol. 49, No. 6 (Dec., 1995), pp. 1095-1107
DOI: 10.2307/2410434
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2410434
Page Count: 13
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Response to Natural Environmental Heterogeneity: Maternal Effects and Selection on Life-History Characters and Plasticities in Mimulus guttatus
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Abstract

Recent studies in plant populations have found that environmental heterogeneity and phenotypic selection vary at local spatial scales. In this study, I ask if there is evolutionary change in response to environmental heterogeneity and, if so, whether the response occurs for characters or character plasticities. I used vegetative clones of Mimulus guttatus to create replicate populations of 75 genotypes. These populations were planted into the natural habitat where they differed in mean growth, flowering phenology, and life span. This phenotypic variation was used to define selective environments. There was variation in fitness (flower production) among genotypes across all planting sites and in genotype response to the selective environment. Offspring from each site were grown in the greenhouse in two water treatments. Because each population initially had the same genetic composition, variation in the progeny between selective environments reveals either evolutionary change in response to environmental heterogeneity or environmental maternal effects. Plants from experimental sites that flowered earlier, had shorter life spans and were less productive, produced offspring that had more flowers, on average, and were less plastic in vegetative allocation than offspring of longer-lived plants from high-productivity areas. However, environmental maternal effects masked phenotypic differences in flower production. Therefore, although there was evidence of genetic differentiation in both life-history characters and their plasticities in response to small-scale environmental heterogeneity, environmental maternal effects may slow evolutionary change. Response to local-scale selective regimes suggests that environmental heterogeneity and local variation in phenotypic selection may act to maintain genetic variation.

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