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Herbivory influences the relative fitness of three native Lythrum salicaria populations, but no evidence of local adaptation along a latitudinal gradient
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Plant Ecology and Evolution.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Plant Ecology and Evolution.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Local adaptation along environmental gradients has been documented in many plant species, but the extent to which biotic interactions influence the relative fitness of local and non-local genotypes has rarely been examined experimentally. Previous common-garden experiments detected clinal variation in life history, phenology and resistance to herbivory in the perennial herb Lythrum salicaria along a latitudinal gradient in Sweden, which coincides with a decrease in the length of the growing season and intensity of herbivory from south to north. Here, we included a herbivore-removal treatment in a reciprocal transplant experiment to test whether three populations sampled along the latitudinal gradient are locally adapted, whether differences in resistance and tolerance are consistent across sites and whether herbivory influences the relative performance of the study populations. The results did not reveal any evidence of local adaptation. Instead the southernmost population had the highest relative fitness at all three sites and was consistently less damaged by herbivores than were the other populations. The intensity of herbivory was greatest at the southern site and very low at the northernmost site. The removal of insect herbivores positively affected plant growth and fecundity at the southern and central sites. Herbivore removal also affected the relative fitness of the study populations at the southern site, and tended to do so at the central site. However, the relative ranking of the three populations did not change, indicating that herbivores influenced the strength but not the direction of selection. Genetic drift, recent climatic warming and intermittent strong selection against southern genotypes at northern latitudes may all contribute to the documented patterns of among-population variation in fitness, while similarity in the behaviour and preferences of herbivore populations along the studied gradient may explain the consistent differences in resistance.

Keyword [en]
Female reproductive success, Galerucella calmariensis, Galerucella pusilla, Nanophyes marmoratus, Plant-herbivore interactions, Reciprocal transplant, Plant resistance, Tolerance to herbivory
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Ecological Botany
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-247252OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-247252DiVA: diva2:795401
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2015-03-16 Created: 2015-03-16 Last updated: 2015-07-07
In thesis
1. Ecological and Evolutionary Consequences of Herbivory in the Perennial Herb Lythrum salicaria
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ecological and Evolutionary Consequences of Herbivory in the Perennial Herb Lythrum salicaria
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this thesis, I combined field, common-garden and greenhouse experiments to examine the ecological and evolutionary consequences of plant-herbivore interactions in the perennial herb Lythrum salicaria. More specifically I examined (1) whether resistance and tolerance to damage from herbivores vary with latitude and are positively related to the intensity of herbivory in natural populations, (2) whether effects of herbivory on plant fitness vary with latitude, (3) whether populations are locally adapted and whether herbivory influences the relative fitness of populations, and (4) whether the intensity and effects of insect herbivory on reproductive output vary locally along a disturbance gradient and are associated with differences in plant resistance.

A common-garden and a greenhouse experiment demonstrated that plant resistance decreased whereas plant tolerance increased with latitude of origin among populations sampled along a latitudinal gradient in Sweden. Oviposition and feeding preference in the greenhouse and leaf damage in the common-garden experiment were negatively related to natural damage in the source populations.

Experimental removal of insect herbivores in three populations sampled along the latitudinal gradient demonstrated that intensity of herbivory and its effects on plant fitness decreased towards the north. A reciprocal transplant experiment among the same three populations showed that herbivory affected the relative fitness of the three populations, but did not detect any evidence of local adaptation. Instead the southernmost population had the highest relative fitness at all three sites.

A herbivore-removal experiment conducted in nine populations in an archipelago in northern Sweden demonstrated that insect herbivory strongly influenced among-population variation in reproductive output. However, variation in resistance was not related to differences in intensity of herbivory at this spatial scale.

Taken together, the results demonstrate that resistance and tolerance to herbivory vary with latitude but in opposite directions, that intensity of herbivory is a major determinant of flowering and seed output, and that the strength of herbivore-mediated selection varies among populations in Lythrum salicaria. They further indicate that both physical disturbance regime and latitudinal variation in abiotic conditions may strongly influence the performance and abundance of perennial herbs because of their effects on interactions with specialized herbivores.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2015. 37 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1238
Keyword
Disturbance gradient, Female reproductive success, Galerucella calmariensis, Galerucella pusilla, Herbivore removal, Latitudinal gradient, Local adaptation, Nanophyes marmoratus, Plant-herbivore interactions, Plant size, Resistance to herbivory, Tolerance to damage
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Ecological Botany
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-247088 (URN)978-91-554-9196-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-05-08, Zootissalen, Villavägen 9, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-04-17 Created: 2015-03-13 Last updated: 2015-07-07

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