Data from: Testing the hypothesis of loss of defences on islands across a wide latitudinal gradient of Periploca laevigata populations
Monroy, Pedro; García-Verdugo, Carlos (2019), Data from: Testing the hypothesis of loss of defences on islands across a wide latitudinal gradient of Periploca laevigata populations, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.35n1163
PREMISE OF THE STUDY: We tested a hypothesis that predicts loss of chemical defences on island plant populations (LCDIH) as an evolutionary response to limited herbivore pressures. METHODS: Using a common garden approach, we grew 16 populations (N = 286 seedlings) of Periploca laevigata, a Mediterranean shrub for which previous studies suggested tannin-mediated responses to animal browsing. Our experimental setting represented a wide latitudinal gradient (37-15ºN) encompassing three island systems, virtually free of large herbivores, and three mainland areas. Putative chemical defences were estimated from tannin-protein precipitation assays, and inducible responses in growth and chemical traits were assessed between seasons and by subjecting plants to a pruning treatment. KEY RESULTS: We failed to find support for the LCDIH, since island populations (Canary Islands, Cape Verde) displayed increasingly higher constitutive levels of tannins at lower latitudes. Seasonality, but not experimental pruning, induced variation in levels of tannins in a consistent pattern across populations. Thus, net differences in leaf tannin concentration remained similar among geographical areas regardless of the factor considered, with latitude being the best explanatory factor for this trait over seasonal growth patterns. CONCLUSIONS: Geographical variation in total tannin pools appears to be mediated by factors other than herbivore pressure in P. laevigata. We hypothesize that abiotic correlates of latitude not considered in our study have promoted high constitutive levels of leaf tannins across Macaronesian populations, which ultimately may explain the pattern of seasonal variation and latitudinal increase from Mediterranean to subtropical Cape Verde populations. In compliance with data protection regulations, please contact the publication office if you would like to have your personal information removed from the database.