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FITNESS VARIATION AND LOCAL DISTRIBUTION LIMITS IN AN ANNUAL PLANT POPULATION

Authors

  • Nancy C. Emery,

    1. Center for Population Biology and Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616
    2. E-mail: nemery@purdue.edu
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    • Current address: Department of Biological Sciences, 915 West State Street, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, 47907-2054.

  • Kevin J. Rice,

    1. Department of Plant Sciences and The Center for Population Biology, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616
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  • Maureen L. Stanton

    1. Center for Population Biology and Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616
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Abstract

Understanding how genetic variation shapes species’ distributions involves examining how variation is distributed across a species’ range as well as how it responds to underlying environmental heterogeneity. We examined patterns of fitness variation across the local distribution of an annual composite (Lasthenia fremontii) spanning a small-scale inundation gradient in a California vernal pool wetland. Using seeds collected from the center and edge of a population, paternal half-sib families were generated and transplanted back to the center and edge of the original population. All transplants were adapted to the conditions at the center of the population. The effect of the environment on the opportunity for selection depended on the model of selection assumed. Under a model of hard selection, variance in absolute fitness was lower among transplants at the edge of the population than at the center. Under a model of soft selection, the variance in relative fitness was similar between center and edge microhabitats. Given that this population is likely well-mixed, differences in habitat quality between center and edge microhabitats will likely cause selection at the center of the population to dominate the evolutionary trajectory of this population.

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