• Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia ;
  • geographical variation;
  • inbreeding coefficient;
  • inbreeding depression;
  • mating system;
  • outcrossing;
  • self-fertilization;
  • self-incompatibility


Theory predicts that inbreeding depression (ID) should decline via purging in self-fertilizing populations. Yet, intraspecific comparisons between selfing and outcrossing populations are few and provide only mixed support for this key evolutionary process. We estimated ID for large-flowered (LF), predominantly outcrossing vs. small-flowered (SF), predominantly selfing populations of the dune endemic Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia by comparing selfed and crossed progeny in glasshouse environments differing in soil moisture, and by comparing allozyme-based estimates of the proportion of seeds selfed and inbreeding coefficient of mature plants. Based on lifetime measures of dry mass and flower production, ID was stronger in nine LF populations [mean δ = 1−(fitness of selfed seed/fitness of outcrossed seed) = 0.39] than 16 SF populations (mean δ = 0.03). However, predispersal ID during seed maturation was not stronger for LF populations, and ID was not more pronounced under simulated drought, a pervasive stress in sand dune habitat. Genetic estimates of δ were also higher for four LF (δ = 1.23) than five SF (δ = 0.66) populations; however, broad confidence intervals around these estimates overlapped. These results are consistent with purging, but selective interference among loci may be required to maintain strong ID in partially selfing LF populations, and trade-offs between selfed and outcrossed fitness are likely required to maintain outcrossing in SF populations.