Predicting evolution of floral traits associated with mating system in a natural plant population


(present address): Mark van Kleunen, Institute for Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Lennéstrasse 7A, 14471 Potsdam, Germany


Evolution of floral traits requires that they are heritable, that they affect fitness, and that they are not constrained by genetic correlations. These prerequisites have only rarely been examined in natural populations. For Mimulus guttatus, we found by using the Riska-method that corolla width, anther length, ovary length and number of red dots on the corolla were heritable in a natural population. Seed production (maternal fitness) was directly positively affected by corolla width and anther size, and indirectly so by ovary length and number of red dots on the corolla. The siring success (paternal fitness), as estimated from allozyme data, was directly negatively affected by anther–stigma separation, and indirectly so by the corolla length–width ratio. Genetic correlations, estimated with the Lynch-method, were positive between floral size measures. We predict that larger flowers with larger reproductive organs, which generally favour outcrossing, will evolve in this natural population of M. guttatus.