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Conflicting selection on the timing of germination in a natural population of Arabidopsis thaliana


Akiyama, Reiko; Agren, Jon (2014). Conflicting selection on the timing of germination in a natural population of Arabidopsis thaliana. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 27(1):193-199.

Abstract

The timing of germination is a key life-history trait that may strongly influence plant fitness and that sets the stage for selection on traits expressed later in the life cycle. In seasonal environments, the period favourable for germination and the total length of the growing season are limited. The optimal timing of germination may therefore be governed by conflicting selection through survival and fecundity. We conducted a field experiment to examine the effects of timing of germination on survival, fecundity and overall fitness in a natural population of the annual herb Arabidopsis thaliana in north-central Sweden. Seedlings were transplanted at three different times in late summer and in autumn covering the period of seed germination in the study population. Early germination was associated with low seedling survival, but also with high survival and fecundity among established plants. The advantages of germinating early more than balanced the disadvantage and selection favoured early germination. The results suggest that low survival among early germinating seeds is the main force opposing the evolution of earlier germination and that the optimal timing of germination should vary in space and time as a function of the direction and strength of selection acting during different life-history stages.

Abstract

The timing of germination is a key life-history trait that may strongly influence plant fitness and that sets the stage for selection on traits expressed later in the life cycle. In seasonal environments, the period favourable for germination and the total length of the growing season are limited. The optimal timing of germination may therefore be governed by conflicting selection through survival and fecundity. We conducted a field experiment to examine the effects of timing of germination on survival, fecundity and overall fitness in a natural population of the annual herb Arabidopsis thaliana in north-central Sweden. Seedlings were transplanted at three different times in late summer and in autumn covering the period of seed germination in the study population. Early germination was associated with low seedling survival, but also with high survival and fecundity among established plants. The advantages of germinating early more than balanced the disadvantage and selection favoured early germination. The results suggest that low survival among early germinating seeds is the main force opposing the evolution of earlier germination and that the optimal timing of germination should vary in space and time as a function of the direction and strength of selection acting during different life-history stages.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:January 2014
Deposited On:29 Nov 2013 11:51
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 00:07
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:1010-061X
Additional Information:Data available at: http://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.82mf4
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/jeb.12293
Related URLs:http://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.82mf4
PubMed ID:24329869

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