Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Mating system and historical climate conditions affect population mean seed mass: evidence for adaptation and a new component of the selfing syndrome in Clarkia

Citation

Mazer, Susan et al. (2019), Data from: Mating system and historical climate conditions affect population mean seed mass: evidence for adaptation and a new component of the selfing syndrome in Clarkia, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.25349/D93888

Abstract

1. The evolution of seed size may be influenced by intrinsic attributes of populations, such as mating system, and extrinsic factors, such as climate. Several hypotheses propose that the evolution of self-fertilization from an outcrossing progenitor will be accompanied by a reduction in seed size, but this prediction has not been rigorously tested. Many studies report that the mean seed size of populations or taxa is associated with long-term climate conditions. Here, we examined the effects on seed size of both mating system and climate within a single genus.

2. In the California wildflower genus, Clarkia (Onagraceae), we sampled seeds from 58 populations representing three pairs of sister taxa; each pair included a predominantly outcrossing and a facultatively selfing taxon. We then examined the independent effects on population mean seed size of mating system, elevation, long-term (30-year) climate conditions, and climate anomalies (the deviation between conditions in the year of collection and the long-term mean), focusing on maximum monthly temperature (Tmax), cumulative moisture deficit, and cumulative precipitation (PPT) during Clarkia’s growing season (fall, winter, and spring).

3. In each taxon pair, the selfing taxon had smaller seeds than the outcrosser. Local, long-term (1921-1980 and 1981-2000) mean Tmax, PPT, and elevation were independently and negatively associated with seed size. Long-term means for Tmax and PPT explain geographic variation in seed size better than climate anomalies in the year of collection.

4. Synthesis: We corroborated two key hypotheses concerning the drivers of geographic variation in mean seed size. Small seeds in Clarkia co-evolve with selfing (although the mechanism remains elusive) and in response to chronically warm and wet conditions. The effect of long-term mean precipitation on seed size differs qualitatively from the effect of precipitation anomalies; relatively large seeds are produced in populations experiencing wetter-than-normal years. Ongoing climate change may therefore generate conflicting selection on seed size in Clarkia: intensifying drought is likely to lead to an evolutionary increase in seed size due to its effects on seedling survivorship, while climate-driven declines in pollinators or selection favoring more rapid reproduction may promote the evolution of self-pollination, facilitating the evolution of smaller seeds. 

Usage Notes

Metadata in second tab of Excel spreadsheet.