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A resurrection study reveals limited evolution of phenology in response to recent climate change across the geographic range of the scarlet monkeyflower

Cite this dataset

Vtipil, Emma; Sheth, Seema (2021). A resurrection study reveals limited evolution of phenology in response to recent climate change across the geographic range of the scarlet monkeyflower [Dataset]. Dryad.


Premise of the study: As global climate change alters drought regimes, rapid evolution of traits that facilitate adaptation to drought can rescue populations in decline. The evolution of phenological advancement can allow plants to escape drought, but evolutionary responses in phenology can vary across a species’ range due to differences in drought intensity and standing genetic variation.

Methods: Mimulus cardinalis, a perennial herb spanning a broad climatic gradient, recently experienced a period of record drought. Here, we used a resurrection study comparing flowering time and stem height at first flower of pre-drought ancestors and post-drought descendants from northern-edge, central, and southern-edge populations in a common environment to examine the evolution of drought escape traits across the latitudinal range.

Key results: Contrary to the hypothesis of the evolution of advanced phenology in response to recent drought, flowering time did not advance between ancestors and descendants in any population, though storage condition and maternal effects could have impacted these results. Stem height was positively correlated with flowering time, such that plants that flowered earlier were shorter at first flower. This correlation could constrain the evolution of earlier flowering time if selection favors flowering early at a large size.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that rapid evolution of phenology will not rescue these populations from recent climate change. Future work is needed to examine the potential for the evolution of alternative drought strategies and phenotypic plasticity to buffer M. cardinalis populations from changing climate.

Usage notes


  1. Download entire project folder to desired location
  2. Open cardinalis_phenology_Ecol_and_Evol.Rproj file in R Studio
  3. Install associated R packages
  4. Create a new subfolder entitled "Figures"

Directory descriptions

  • Data: raw data and README files containing metadata
  • Rscripts: script files to reproduce analyses in manuscript, numbered sequentially

Mimulus cardinalis data from resurrection study of phenology

This data file includes germination time, flowering time, and stem height at first flower for each Mimulus cardinalis individual in the experiment, along with seed mass for a subset of maternal families.


Annual climate data for each study population from 1901-2017

Annual climate data for each Mimulus cardinalis study population from 1901-2017. Data were obtained from ClimateWNA version 5.51 (Wang T, Hamann A, Spittlehouse DL, Carroll C; 2016; "Locally downscaled and spatially customizable climate data for historical and future periods for North America," PLOS ONE 11: e0156720. 


Additional comma-delimited files in “Data” folder

Do not comprise main dataset from experiment but are used to summarize data.