Microgeographic Patterns of Genetic Divergence and Adaptation across Environmental Gradients in Boechera stricta (Brassicaceae).
Abiotic and biotic conditions often vary continuously across the landscape, imposing divergent selection on local populations. We used a provenance trial approach to examine microgeographic variation in local adaptation in Boechera stricta (Brassicaceae), a perennial forb native to the Rocky Mountains. In montane ecosystems, environmental conditions change considerably over short spatial scales, such that neighboring populations can be subject to different selective pressures. Using accessions from southern (Colorado) and northern (Idaho) populations, we characterized spatial variation in genetic similarity via microsatellite markers. We then transplanted genotypes from multiple local populations into common gardens in both regions. Continuous variation in local adaptation emerged for several components of fitness. In Idaho, genotypes from warmer environments (low-elevation or south-facing sites) were poorly adapted to the north-facing garden. In high- and low-elevation Colorado gardens, susceptibility to insect herbivory increased with source elevation. In the high-elevation Colorado garden, germination success peaked for genotypes that evolved at elevations similar to that of the garden and decreased for genotypes from higher and lower elevations. We also found evidence for local maladaptation in survival and fecundity components of fitness in the low-elevation Colorado garden. This approach is a first step in predicting how global change could affect evolutionary dynamics.
Anderson, JT; Perera, N; Chowdhury, B; Mitchell-Olds, T
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