Journal Article

Uncoupled Geographical Variation between Leaves and Flowers in a South-Andean Proteaceae

Vanina R. Chalcoff, Cecilia Ezcurra and Marcelo A. Aizen

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 102, issue 1, pages 79-91
Published in print July 2008 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online April 2008 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcn057
Uncoupled Geographical Variation between Leaves and Flowers in a South-Andean Proteaceae

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background and Aims

Geographical variation in foliar and floral traits and their degree of coupling can provide relevant information on the relative importance of abiotic, biotic and even neutral factors acting at geographical scales as generators of evolutionary novelty. Geographical variation was studied in leaves and flowers of Embothrium coccineum, a species that grows along abrupt environmental gradients and exhibits contrasting pollinator assemblages in the southern Andes.

Methods

Five foliar and eight floral morphological characters were considered from 32 populations, and their patterns of variation and covariation were analysed within and among populations, together with their relationship with environmental variables, using both univariate and multivariate methods. The relationships between foliar and floral morphological variation and geographical distance between populations were compared with Mantel permutation tests.

Key Results

Leaf and flower traits were clearly uncoupled within populations and weakly associated among populations. Whereas geographical variation in foliar traits was mostly related to differences in precipitation associated with geographical longitude, variation in floral traits was not.

Conclusions

These patterns suggest that leaves and flowers responded to different evolutionary forces, environmental (i.e. rainfall) in the case of leaves, and biotic (i.e. pollinators) or genetic drift in the case of flowers. This study supports the view that character divergence at a geographical scale can be moulded by different factors acting in an independent fashion.

Keywords: Embothrium coccineum; Proteaceae; geographical variation; foliar morphology; floral morphology; uncoupling; selective forces; environmental conditions; pollinators; south Andes

Journal Article.  8608 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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