Darwin's wind hypothesis: does it work for plant dispersal in fragmented habitats?

Authors

  • Miquel Riba,

    1. CREAF (Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications), Autonomous University of Barcelona, ES–08193 Bellaterra, Spain
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  • Maria Mayol,

    1. CREAF (Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications), Autonomous University of Barcelona, ES–08193 Bellaterra, Spain
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  • Barbara E. Giles,

    1. Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University, SE–901 87 Umeå, Sweden
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    • *

      These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Ophélie Ronce,

    1. Université Montpellier 2, Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution, UMR CNRS 5554, Place Eugène Bataillon, F–34095 Montpellier cedex 05, France
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      These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Eric Imbert,

    1. Université Montpellier 2, Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution, UMR CNRS 5554, Place Eugène Bataillon, F–34095 Montpellier cedex 05, France
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  • Marco Van Der Velde,

    1. Animal Ecology Group, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies, University of Groningen, PO Box 14, NL–9750 AA Haren, The Netherlands
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  • Stéphanie Chauvet,

    1. Université Montpellier 2, Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution, UMR CNRS 5554, Place Eugène Bataillon, F–34095 Montpellier cedex 05, France
    2. Association Tela Botanica, Institut de Botanique, 163 Rue Auguste Broussonnet, F–34090 Montpellier, France
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  • Lars Ericson,

    1. Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University, SE–901 87 Umeå, Sweden
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  • R. Bijlsma,

    1. Population and Conservation Genetics, Theoretical Biology, University of Groningen, PO Box 14, NL–9750 AA Haren, The Netherlands
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  • Ben Vosman,

    1. Plant Research International, Wageningen UR, PO Box 16, NL–6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
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  • M. J. M. Smulders,

    1. Plant Research International, Wageningen UR, PO Box 16, NL–6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
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  • Isabelle Olivieri

    1. Université Montpellier 2, Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution, UMR CNRS 5554, Place Eugène Bataillon, F–34095 Montpellier cedex 05, France
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    • *

      These authors contributed equally to this work.


Author for correspondence:
Isabelle Olivieri
Tel: 33 4 67 14 37 50
Email: Isabelle.Olivieri@univ-montp2.fr

Summary

  • • Using the wind-dispersed plant Mycelis muralis, we examined how landscape fragmentation affects variation in seed traits contributing to dispersal.
  • • Inverse terminal velocity (inline image) of field-collected achenes was used as a proxy for individual seed dispersal ability. We related this measure to different metrics of landscape connectivity, at two spatial scales: in a detailed analysis of eight landscapes in Spain and along a latitudinal gradient using 29 landscapes across three European regions.
  • • In the highly patchy Spanish landscapes, seed inline image increased significantly with increasing connectivity. A common garden experiment suggested that differences in inline image may be in part genetically based. The inline image was also found to increase with landscape occupancy, a coarser measure of connectivity, on a much broader (European) scale. Finally, inline image was found to increase along a south–north latitudinal gradient.
  • • Our results for M. muralis are consistent with ‘Darwin's wind dispersal hypothesis’ that high cost of dispersal may select for lower dispersal ability in fragmented landscapes, as well as with the ‘leading edge hypothesis’ that most recently colonized populations harbour more dispersive phenotypes.

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