Data from: Latitudinal variation in norms of reaction of phenology in the greater duckweed Spirodela polyrhiza
Hitsman, Harry; Simons, Andrew (2020), Data from: Latitudinal variation in norms of reaction of phenology in the greater duckweed Spirodela polyrhiza, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.83bk3j9p9
Variable environments may result in the evolution of adaptive phenotypic plasticity when cues reliably indicate an appropriate phenotype-environment match. Although adaptive plasticity is well established for phenological traits expressed across environments, local differentiation in norms of reaction is less well studied. The switch from the production of regular fronds to overwintering “turions” in the greater duckweed Spirodela polyrhiza is vital to fitness and is expressed as a norm of reaction induced by falling temperatures associated with the onset of winter. However, the optimal norm of reaction to temperature is expected to differ across latitudes. Here, we test the hypothesis that a gradient in the length and predictability of growing seasons across latitudes results in the evolution of reaction norms characterized by earlier turion production at higher latitudes. We test this by collecting S. polyrhiza from replicate populations across seven latitudes from Ontario to Florida, and then assessing differentiation in thermal reaction norms of turion production along a common temperature gradient. As predicted, northern populations produce turions at lower birth order and earlier; a significant latitude-by-temperature interaction suggests that reaction norm differentiation has occurred. Our results provide evidence of differentiation in reaction norms across latitudes in a phenological trait, and we discuss how the adaptive significance of this plasticity might be further tested.
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Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Award: RGPIN-2015-03922