The clonal dependence of turion formation in the duckweed Spirodela polyrhiza—an ecogeographical approach



Formation of turions, the vegetative perennation organs, plays an important role in the survival strategy of Spirodela polyrhiza (L.) Schleiden. Turion formation [quantified as number of turions formed per frond; specific turion yield (SY)] was investigated in 27 clones collected from a wide geographical range. The Pearson correlation was tested with (1) duration of growing season (monthly average temperature of ≥10°C), (2) relative growth rate of the fronds, (3) longitude and latitude, and (4) several climatic parameters, in all possible single and multiple regressions. All single coefficients of determination were below 0.10. The highest correlation (R2 = 0.61; adjusted for the number of explaining variables 0.54) was found in a multiple linear regression with the following five parameters: average temperatures over the year and during the growing season, duration of the growing season and precipitation over the year and during the growth period. All these parameters were shown to have significant contributions. This equation was used successfully to predict the SY of five newly isolated clones. Finally, on the basis of all 32 clones the following conclusions were drawn: The mean annual temperature has the highest impact. It is suggested that lower temperatures decrease the survival rate of turions and that adaptation refers to increasing SY. The different levels of SY in the clones (ranging from SY = 0.22 to 5.9) were detected even after several years of in vitro cultivation. It is therefore assumed that these adaptations to the climatic conditions are genetically determined.