Data from: Trait variation in response to varying winter temperatures, diversity patterns and signatures of selection along the latitudinal distribution of the widespread grassland plant Arrhenatherum elatius
Michalski, Stefan G.; Malyshev, Andrey V.; Kreyling, Juergen (2018), Data from: Trait variation in response to varying winter temperatures, diversity patterns and signatures of selection along the latitudinal distribution of the widespread grassland plant Arrhenatherum elatius, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1b5t7
Across Europe, genetic diversity can be expected to decline toward the North because of stochastic and selective effects which may imply diminished phenotypic variation and less potential for future genetic adaptations to environmental change. Understanding such latitudinal patterns can aid provenance selection for breeding or assisted migration approaches. In an experiment simulating different winter temperatures, we assessed quantitative trait variation, genetic diversity, and differentiation for natural populations of the grass Arrhenatherum elatius originating from a large latitudinal gradient. In general, populations from the North grew smaller and had a lower flowering probability. Toward the North, the absolute plastic response to the different winter conditions as well as heritability for biomass production significantly declined. Genetic differentiation in plant height and probability of flowering were very strong and significantly higher than under neutral expectations derived from SNP data, suggesting adaptive differentiation. Differentiation in biomass production did not exceed but mirrored patterns for neutral genetic differentiation, suggesting that migration-related processes caused the observed clinal trait variation. Our results demonstrate that genetic diversity and trait differentiation patterns for A. elatius along a latitudinal gradient are likely shaped by both local selection and genetic drift.