Evol Ecol Res 13: 55-73 (2011)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Differential patterns of plasticity to water availability along native and naturalized latitudinal gradients

Thomas D. Baird1,2*, Christopher A. Henson1, Nicholas M. Daily1, Gregory V. Baccari1 and Courtney J. Murren1

1Department of Biology, College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, USA and 2Grice Marine Biological Laboratory, Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Correspondence: C.J. Murren, Department of Biology, College of Charleston, 66 George Street, Charleston, SC 29424, USA.
e-mail: murrenc@cofc.edu


Questions: Does plasticity to water availability differ between native and naturalized and laboratory plant accessions? Is there a relationship between morphological plasticity and a fitness measure? Can we account for latitudinal patterns of plasticity with rainfall data from the seed source location?

Organism: We examined an array of 23 native, 14 naturalized, and 5 laboratory accessions of Arabidopsis thaliana.

Methods: We employed a split-plot experimental design in the greenhouse with two water treatments. We measured morphological and fitness-related traits at various developmental stages. We utilized a published dataset representing 30-year average precipitation trends for each accession origin.

Results: We detected evidence of differential patterns of plasticity between native, naturalized, and laboratory populations for several morphological traits. Native, laboratory, and naturalized populations also differed in which traits were positively associated with fitness, and did not follow the Jack-of-all-trades or Master-of-some scenarios. Significant negative relationships were detected for plasticity in morphological traits with latitude. We found modest evidence that rainfall may play a role in this latitudinal trend.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana, cline, phenotypic plasticity, water availability.

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