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Data from: Responses of a legume to inbreeding and the intensity of novel and familiar stresses


Rehling, Finn; Matthies, Diethart; Sandner, Tobias (2019), Data from: Responses of a legume to inbreeding and the intensity of novel and familiar stresses, Dryad, Dataset,


It is often assumed that the negative effects of inbreeding on fitness (inbreeding depression, ID) are particularly strong under stressful conditions. However, ID may be relatively mild under types of stress that plant populations have experienced for a long time, because environment-specific deleterious alleles may already have been purged. We examined the performance of open- and self-pollinated progeny of the short-lived calcareous grassland plant Anthyllis vulneraria under three intensities of each of five types of stress. Drought, nutrient deficiency and defoliation were chosen as stresses typical for the habitat of origin, while shade and waterlogging were expected to be novel, unfamiliar stresses for A. vulneraria. The stresses reduced plant biomass by up to 91%, and the responses of the plants were mostly in line with the functional equilibrium hypothesis. There was significant ID in biomass (δ = 0.17), leaf chlorophyll content and the number of root nodules of the legume, but the magnitude of ID was independent of the stress treatments. In particular, there was no significant interaction between inbreeding and the intensity of any stress type, and ID was not higher under novel than under familiar stresses. In addition, phenotypic plasticity in biomass allocation, leaf functional traits and in root nodulation of the legume to the various stress treatments was not influenced by inbreeding. Our findings do not support the common hypothesis of stronger ID under stressful environments, not even if the stresses are novel to the plants.

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