Geographical limits of species' distributions are assumed to be coincident with ecological margins, although this assumption might not always be true. Indeed, harsh environments such as Alpine and Mediterranean ecosystems may favour high phenotypic variability among populations, especially those in peripheral sites. Floral traits are often found to be less variable and less affected by environmental heterogeneity than vegetative traits because variation in the former may have negative effects on fitness. For this reason, it is important to quantify variation in floral traits and plant fecundity in study range limits. The objective of the study is to examine phenotypic variation and differences in reproduction in endemic Lilium pomponium in the Maritime and Ligurian Alps in relation to environmental variation across its distribution range. In this species, marginal climatic populations occur both in the peripheral and central geographical locations of the distribution range; hence, geographical and ecological gradients are not concordant. Floral trait variation is related to local environmental conditions with an array of interactions among resource availability, potential pollen limitation and population size that are differentially related to floral traits. Contrary to the general expectation, all central and peripheral populations had similar, moderate seed production with each group limited by different factors acting on different stages of the life-history strategy. Our results are in line with the idea that general expectations are confirmed only when its assumptions are met and that the differences in pollination environment along an environmental gradient may not be the main determinant of the distribution limit.

Effects of environmental heterogeneity on phenotypic variation of the endemic plant Lilium pomponium in the Maritime and Ligurian Alps

Macrì, Carmelo;Dagnino, Davide;Guerrina, Maria;Minuto, Luigi;Casazza, Gabriele
2021-01-01

Abstract

Geographical limits of species' distributions are assumed to be coincident with ecological margins, although this assumption might not always be true. Indeed, harsh environments such as Alpine and Mediterranean ecosystems may favour high phenotypic variability among populations, especially those in peripheral sites. Floral traits are often found to be less variable and less affected by environmental heterogeneity than vegetative traits because variation in the former may have negative effects on fitness. For this reason, it is important to quantify variation in floral traits and plant fecundity in study range limits. The objective of the study is to examine phenotypic variation and differences in reproduction in endemic Lilium pomponium in the Maritime and Ligurian Alps in relation to environmental variation across its distribution range. In this species, marginal climatic populations occur both in the peripheral and central geographical locations of the distribution range; hence, geographical and ecological gradients are not concordant. Floral trait variation is related to local environmental conditions with an array of interactions among resource availability, potential pollen limitation and population size that are differentially related to floral traits. Contrary to the general expectation, all central and peripheral populations had similar, moderate seed production with each group limited by different factors acting on different stages of the life-history strategy. Our results are in line with the idea that general expectations are confirmed only when its assumptions are met and that the differences in pollination environment along an environmental gradient may not be the main determinant of the distribution limit.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1032591
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 4
  • Scopus 6
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 6
social impact