Although ecological differences between native and introduced ranges have been considered to drive rapid expansion of invasive species, recent studies suggest that rapid evolutionary responses of invasive species to local environments may also be common. Such expansion across heterogeneous environments by adaptation to local habitats requires genetic variation. In this study, we investigated the source and role of standing variation in successful invasion of heterogeneous abiotic environments in a self-incompatible species, Lotus corniculatus. We compared phenotypic and genetic variation among cultivars, natives, and introduced genotypes, and found substantial genetic variation within both native and introduced populations. Introduced populations possessed genotypes derived from both cultivars and native populations, and had lower population differentiation, indicating multiple sources of introduction and population admixture among the sources in the introduced range. Both cultivars and introduced populations had similarly outperforming phenotypes on average, with increased biomass and earlier flowering compared with native populations, but those phenotypes were within the range of the variation in phenotypes of the native populations. In addition, clinal variation within introduced populations was detected along a climatic gradient. Multiple introductions from different sources, including cultivars, may have contributed to pre-adaptive standing variation in the current introduced populations. We conclude that both introduction of cultivar genotypes and natural selection in local environments contributed to current patterns of genetic and phenotypic variation observed in the introduced populations.
- Common garden experiment
- Genetic diversity
- Standing variation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics