Effects of competition on lifetime estimates of inbreeding depression in the outcrossing plant Crepis sancta (Asteraceae)


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Inbreeding depression was studied in two populations of a Mediterranean allogamous colonizing species Crepis sancta. In order to test the hypothesis that the magnitude of inbreeding depression can be modified by successional processes, the growth and survival of individuals resulting from two generations of inbred crosses including selfing were analysed with interspecific competition (in natural vegetation) and without interspecific competition (by removing natural vegetation). Inbreeding depression was weak for seed production. Germination was little affected by inbreeding but mortality and the number of capitula showed inbreeding depression, especially in the presence of competition. This suggests that inbreeding depression is very sensitive to variations in environmental conditions such as interspecific competition. As a consequence, inbreeding depression cannot be considered as constant in natural conditions.