Phenotypic plasticity masks range-wide genetic differentiation for vegetative but not reproductive traits in a short-lived plant



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Villellas, Jesús and Ehrlén, Johan and Crone, Elizabeth E. and Csergő, Anna Mária and Garcia, Maria B. and Laine, Anna-Liisa and Roach, Deborah A. and Salguero-Gómez, Roberto and Wardle, Glenda M. and Childs, Dylan Z. and Elderd, Bret D. and Finn, Alain and Munné-Bosch, Sergi and Bachelot, Benedicte and Bódis, Judit and Bucharova, Anna and Caruso, Christina M. and Catford, Jane A. and Coghill, Matthew and Compagnoni, Aldo and Duncan, Richard P. and Dwyer, John M. and Ferguson, Aryana and Fraser, Lauchlan H. and Griffoul, Emily and Groenteman, Ronny and Hamre, Liv Norunn and Helm, Aveliina and Kelly, Ruth and Laanisto, Lauri and Lonati, Michele and Münzbergová, Zuzana and Nuche, Paloma and Olsen, Siri Lie and Oprea, Adrian and Pärte, Meelis and Petry, William K. and Ramula, Satu and Rasmussen, Pil U. and Ravetto Enri, Simone and Roeder, Anna and Roscher, Christiane and Schultz, Cheryl and Skarpaas, Olav and Smith, Annabel L. and Tack, Ayco J.M. and Töpper, Joachim Paul and Vesk, Peter A. and Vose, Gregory E. and Wandrag, Elizabeth and Wingler, Astrid and Buckley, Yvonne M. (2021) Phenotypic plasticity masks range-wide genetic differentiation for vegetative but not reproductive traits in a short-lived plant. Ecology Letters, 24 (11). pp. 2378-2393. ISSN 1461-023X, Electronic: 1461-0248

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Genetic differentiation and phenotypic plasticity jointly shape intraspecific trait variation, but their roles differ among traits. In short-lived plants, reproductive traits may be more genetically determined due to their impact on fitness, whereas vegetative traits may show higher plasticity to buffer short-term perturbations. Combining a multi-treatment greenhouse experiment with observational field data throughout the range of a widespread short-lived herb, Plantago lanceolata, we (1) disentangled genetic and plastic responses of functional traits to a set of environmental drivers and (2) assessed how genetic differentiation and plasticity shape observational trait–environment relationships. Reproductive traits showed distinct genetic differentiation that largely determined observational patterns, but only when correcting traits for differences in biomass. Vegetative traits showed higher plasticity and opposite genetic and plastic responses, masking the genetic component underlying field-observed trait variation. Our study suggests that genetic differentiation may be inferred from observational data only for the traits most closely related to fitness.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Biomass; Common garden experiment; countergradient; Variation; Fecundity; Genotype by environment interaction; Intraspecific trait variation; Observational datasets; Root: Shoot ratio; Specific leaf area; Widespread species
Subjects:Medical sciences > Biology > Botany
Medical sciences > Biology > Genetics
ID Code:71599
Deposited On:01 Apr 2022 11:06
Last Modified:01 Apr 2022 12:25

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