Floral adaptations and biotic and abiotic selection pressures

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Authors: Elle, E
Year: 2004
Journal: Plant Adaptation: Molecular Genetics and Ecology 111-118 (Conference 2002 UBC Bot Garden & Ctr Plant Res, Vancouver, CANADA)
Title: Floral adaptations and biotic and abiotic selection pressures
Abstract: Explanations for the evolution of floral phenotypes have historically focussed on pollinator choice, but phenotypes also reflect adaptation to abiotic selection pressures. Populations of Collinsia parvifloro vary significantly in floral phenotype, specifically in corolla size. Traditional explanations for this variation (pollinator choice and the reproductive assurance benefit of selfing) explain some of the phenotypic variation observed. However, genetic correlations between corolla size and time to reproductive maturity indicate that an abiotic factor, pattern of precipitation, may also be an important agent of selection. Rapidly developing populations of C. parviflora have small flowers and are found in drier, more ephemeral, ecological settings, where there is limited time to grow large and build large flowers. There has been extensive research on the molecular switch to flowering in model genetic systems; this research on a native plant species suggests that studying natural variation in developmental traits may be a productive way to link molecular genetic and ecological approaches to research on plant adaptation.
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