- • Field reciprocal transplantations of two metallicolous populations (Mpops) and two nonmetallicolous populations (NMpops) of Thlaspi caerulescens were performed here to determine the pattern of local adaptation and to assess the cost of adaptation of Mpops to a metalliferous environment (Menv). The role of herbivores as an important selective pressure in the nonmetalliferous environment (NMenv) was also examined.
- • Growth, survival, fitness, life cycle and herbivore consumption were monitored for each transplant for 2 yr.
- • Local adaptation of Mpops to their own environment was clearly demonstrated, as Mpops consistently outperformed NMpops in Menv. In NMenv, no advantage of NMpops over Mpops was detected. However, the fitness of Mpops was generally lower in NMenv than in Menv. Herbivore consumption appeared to be a significant selective pressure for Mpops in NMenv.
- • An imbalance of selective forces between Menv and NMenv probably explains the greater local adaptation of Mpops. Therefore, colonization of NMenv by Mpops appears possible. Although Mpops were able to survive and reproduce in NMenv, they nevertheless expressed a cost attributable in part to their higher susceptibility to herbivores.