Schouppe D, Brys R, Vallejo-Marin M & Jacquemyn H (2017) Geographic variation in floral traits and the capacity of autonomous selfing across allopatric and sympatric populations of two closely related Centaurium species. Scientific Reports, 7, Art. No.: 46410. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep46410
Floral traits and the relative contribution of autonomous selfing to total seed set varies geographically and is often driven by the availability and abundance of suitable pollinators and/or the presence of co-flowering relatives. In the latter case, competition for pollinator services and costs of hybridization can select for floral traits that reduce interspecific gene flow and contribute to prezygotic isolation, potentially leading to geographic variation in floral divergence between allopatric and sympatric populations. In this study, we investigated variation in floral traits and its implications on the capacity of autonomous selfing in both allopatric and sympatric populations of two closely related Centaurium species (Gentianaceae) across two distinct geographic regions (UK and mainland Europe). Although the magnitude and direction of floral differentiation varied between regions, sympatric populations were always significantly more divergent in floral traits and the capacity to self autonomously than allopatric populations. These results indicate that mating systems can vary substantially within a species and that the joint occurrence of plant species can have a major impact on floral morphology and capacity of autonomous selfing, most likely as a way to reduce the probability of interspecific interference.
Evolutionary ecology; Plant evolution
Scientific Reports: Volume 7
|Publication date online||21/04/2017|
|Date accepted by journal||07/03/2017|