Data from: Influence of niche similarity on hybridisation between Myriophyllum sibiricum and M. spicatum
Wu, Zhigang; Ding, Zhenjie; Yu, Dan; Xu, Xinwei (2015), Data from: Influence of niche similarity on hybridisation between Myriophyllum sibiricum and M. spicatum, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.c418b
The impact of ecological factors on natural hybridization is of widespread interest. Here, we asked whether climate niche influences hybridization between the two closely related plant species Myriophyllum sibiricum and M. spicatum. Eight microsatellite loci and two chloroplast fragments were used to investigate the occurrence of hybridization between these two species in two co-occurring regions: north-east China (NEC) and the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP). The climate niches of the species were quantified by principal component analysis with bioclimatic data, and niche comparisons were performed between the two species in each region. Reciprocal hybridization was observed, and M. sibiricum was favoured as the maternal species. Furthermore, hybrids were rare in NEC but common in the QTP. Accordingly, in NEC, the two species were climatically distinct, and hybrids only occurred in the narrow geographical or ecological transition zone, whereas in the QTP, obvious niche overlaps were found for the two species, and hybrids occurred in multiple contact zones. This association between hybridization pattern and climate niche similarity suggests that the level of hybridization was promoted by niche overlap. Compared with the parental species, similar climate niches were found for the hybrid populations in the QTP, indicating that other environmental factors rather than climate were important for hybrid persistence. Our findings highlight the significance of climate niche with respect to hybridization patterns in plants.