Data from: Spatiotemporal variation in local adaptation of a specialist insect herbivore to its long-lived host plant
Kalske, Aino et al. (2016), Data from: Spatiotemporal variation in local adaptation of a specialist insect herbivore to its long-lived host plant, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0488b
Local adaptation of interacting species to one another indicates geographically variable reciprocal selection. This process of adaptation is central in the organization and maintenance of genetic variation across populations. Given that the strength of selection and responses to it often vary in time and space, the strength of local adaptation should in theory vary between generations and among populations. However, such spatiotemporal variation has rarely been explicitly demonstrated in nature and local adaptation is commonly considered to be relatively static. We report persistent local adaptation of the short-lived herbivore Abrostola asclepiadis to its long-lived host plant Vincetoxicum hirundinaria over three successive generations in two studied populations and considerable temporal variation in local adaptation in six populations supporting the geographic mosaic theory. The observed variation in local adaptation among populations was best explained by geographic distance and population isolation, suggesting that gene flow reduces local adaptation. Changes in herbivore population size did not conclusively explain temporal variation in local adaptation. Our results also imply that short-term studies are likely to capture only a part of the existing variation in local adaptation.