Local adaptation at the range peripheries of Sitka spruce

M. Mimura, S. N. Aitken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

61 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

High-dispersal rates in heterogeneous environments and historical rapid range expansion can hamper local adaptation; however, we often see clinal variation in high-dispersal tree species. To understand the mechanisms of the species' distribution, we investigated local adaptation and adaptive plasticity in a range-wide context in Sitka spruce, a wind-pollinated tree species that has recently expanded its range after glaciations. Phenotypic traits were observed using growth chamber experiments that mimicked temperature and photoperiodic regimes from the limits of the species realized niche. Bud phenology exhibited parallel reaction norms among populations; however, putatively adaptive plasticity and strong divergent selection were seen in bud burst and bud set timing respectively. Natural selection appears to have favoured genotypes that maximize growth rate during available frost-free periods in each environment. We conclude that Sitka spruce has developed local adaptation and adaptive plasticity throughout its range in response to current climatic conditions despite generally high pollen flow and recent range expansion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-258
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Gene flow
  • Local adaptation
  • Phenology
  • Phenotypic plasticity
  • Picea sitchensis
  • Range-wide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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