Low genetic diversity contrasts with high phenotypic variability in heptaploid Spartina densiflora populations invading the Pacific coast of North America
|Castillo Segura, Jesús Manuel
Gallego Tévar, Blanca
Figueroa Clemente, Manuel Enrique
Grewell, Brenda J.
|Universidad de Sevilla. Departamento de Biología Vegetal y Ecología
|Species can respond to environmental pressures through genetic and epigenetic changes and through phenotypic plasticity, but few studies have evaluated the relationships between genetic differentiation and phenotypic ...
Species can respond to environmental pressures through genetic and epigenetic changes and through phenotypic plasticity, but few studies have evaluated the relationships between genetic differentiation and phenotypic plasticity of plant species along changing environmental conditions throughout wide latitudinal ranges. We studied inter‐ and intrapopulation genetic diversity (using simple sequence repeats and chloroplast DNA sequencing) and inter‐ and intrapopulation phenotypic variability of 33 plant traits (using field and common‐garden measurements) for five populations of the invasive cordgrass Spartina densiflora Brongn. along the Pacific coast of North America from San Francisco Bay to Vancouver Island. Studied populations showed very low genetic diversity, high levels of phenotypic variability when growing in contrasted environments and high intrapopulation phenotypic variability for many plant traits. This intrapopulation phenotypic variability was especially high, irrespective of environmental conditions, for those traits showing also high phenotypic plasticity. Within‐population variation represented 84% of the total genetic variation coinciding with certain individual plants keeping consistent responses for three plant traits (chlorophyll b and carotenoid contents, and dead shoot biomass) in the field and in common‐garden conditions. These populations have most likely undergone genetic bottleneck since their introduction from South America; multiple introductions are unknown but possible as the population from Vancouver Island was the most recent and one of the most genetically diverse. S. densiflora appears as a species that would not be very affected itself by climate change and sea‐level rise as it can disperse, establish, and acclimate to contrasted environments along wide latitudinal ranges.
|Castillo Segura, J.M., Gallego Tévar, B., Figueroa Clemente, M.E., Grewell, B.J., Vallet, D. y Salmon, . (2018). Low genetic diversity contrasts with high phenotypic variability in heptaploid Spartina densiflora populations invading the Pacific coast of North America. Ecology and Evolution, 8 (10), 4992-5007.