Flood response is a crucial component of the life strategy of many plants, but it is seldom studied in non‐flooded tolerant species, even though they may be subjected to stressful environmental conditions. Phenotypic plasticity in reaction to environmental stress affects the whole plant phenotype and can alter the character correlations that constitute the phenotypic architecture of the individual, yet few studies have investigated the lability of phenotypic integration to water regime. Moreover, little has been done to date to quantify the sort of selective pressures that different components of a plant’s phenotype may be experiencing under contrasting water regimes. Genetic differentiation and phenotypic plasticity at the single‐trait and multivariate levels were investigated in 47 accessions of the weedy plant Arabidopsis thaliana, and the relationship of plastic characters to reproductive fitness was quantified. Results indicate that these plants tend to be highly genetically differentiated for all traits, in agreement with predictions made on the basis of environmental variation and mating system. Varied patterns of apparent selection under flooded and non‐flooded conditions were also uncovered, suggesting trade‐offs in allocation between roots and above‐ground biomass, as well as between leaves and reproductive structures. While the major components of the plants’ multivariate phenotypic architecture were not significantly affected by environmental changes, many of the details were different under flooded and non‐flooded conditions.
Keywords: Key words: Arabidopsis, flooding, phenotypic plasticity, phenotypic integration, selection.
Journal Article. 6107 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry
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