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van Kleunen, M; Fischer, M; Schmid, B (2005). Three generations under low versus high neighborhood density affect the life history of a clonal plant through differential selection and genetic drift. Oikos, 108(3):573-581.

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We tested whether neighborhood density affects the clonal life history of the stoloniferous plant Ranunculus reptans through selection and genetic drift. After three generations of sexual reproduction of 16 low- and 16 high-density lines, we studied traits related to growth form and reproduction in a common competition free environment. A 7.7% lower branching frequency and slightly longer internodes indicated an evolutionary shift towards a less compact growth form under high neighborhood density, but because stolons grew also more vertically, horizontal spread per ramet was slightly decreased. Neighborhood density had no directional effects on the evolution of allocation to sexual and vegetative reproduction in R. reptans. Variation among replicated high-density lines was significantly lower than among replicated low-density lines in both growth form and reproductive characteristics, indicating less pronounced genetic drift under high neighborhood density. This study demonstrates that a clonal plant can respond to selection imposed by neighborhood density. Moreover, it shows that the effect of random genetic drift increases with decreasing neighborhood density. In a declining species, such as R. reptans in central Europe, this may lower the potential for adaptive evolutionary change and increase extinction risk.


11 citations in Web of Science®
11 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:natural selection, population size, Ranunculus reptans, grassland, traits, competiton, plasticity, perennials
Date:March 2005
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:27
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:21
Publisher DOI:10.1111/j.0030-1299.2005.13503.x

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