Data from: Separation in flowering time contributes to the maintenance of sympatric cryptic plant lineages
Michalski, Stefan G.; Durka, Walter (2016), Data from: Separation in flowering time contributes to the maintenance of sympatric cryptic plant lineages, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.bk5hk
Sympatric cryptic lineages are a challenge for the understanding of species coexistence and lineage diversification as well as for management, conservation, and utilization of plant genetic resources. In higher plants studies providing insights into the mechanisms creating and maintaining sympatric cryptic lineages are rare. Here, using microsatellites and chloroplast sequence data, morphometric analyses, and phenological observations, we ask whether sympatrically coexisting lineages in the common wetland plant Juncus effusus are ecologically differentiated and reproductively isolated. Our results show two genetically highly differentiated, homoploid lineages within J. effusus that are morphologically cryptic and have similar preference for soil moisture content. However, flowering time differed significantly between the lineages contributing to reproductive isolation and the maintenance of these lineages. Furthermore, the later flowering lineage suffered less from predispersal seed predation by a Coleophora moth species. Still, we detected viable and reproducing hybrids between both lineages and the earlier flowering lineage and J. conglomeratus, a coexisting close relative. Flowering time differentiation between the lineages can be explained by neutral divergence alone and together with a lack of postzygotic isolation mechanisms; the sympatric coexistence of these lineages is most likely the result of an allopatric origin with secondary contact.