• climate;
  • divergent selection;
  • phenotypic plasticity


Both environmental and genetic influences can result in phenotypic variation. Quantifying the relative contributions of local adaptation and phenotypic plasticity to phenotypes is key to understanding the effect of environmental variation on populations. Identifying the selective pressures that drive divergence is an important, but often lacking, next step. High gene flow between high- and low-altitude common frog (Rana temporaria) breeding sites has previously been demonstrated in Scotland. The aim of this study was to assess whether local adaptation occurs in the face of high gene flow and to identify potential environmental selection pressures that drive adaptation. Phenotypic variation in larval traits was quantified in R. temporaria from paired high- and low-altitude sites using three common temperature treatments. Local adaptation was assessed using QSTFST analyses, and quantitative phenotypic divergence was related to environmental parameters using Mantel tests. Although evidence of local adaptation was found for all traits measured, only variation in larval period and growth rate was consistent with adaptation to altitude. Moreover, this was only evident in the three mountains with the highest high-altitude sites. This variation was correlated with mean summer and winter temperatures, suggesting that temperature parameters are potentially strong selective pressures maintaining local adaptation, despite high gene flow.