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Genomic and common garden approaches yield complementary results for quantifying environmental drivers of local adaptation in rubber rabbitbrush, a foundational Great Basin shrub

Citation

Faske, Trevor (2021), Genomic and common garden approaches yield complementary results for quantifying environmental drivers of local adaptation in rubber rabbitbrush, a foundational Great Basin shrub, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.j0zpc86f4

Abstract

The spatial structure of genomic and phenotypic variation across populations reflects historical and demographic processes as well as evolution via natural selection. Characterizing such variation can provide an important perspective for understanding the evolutionary consequences of changing climate and for guiding ecological restoration. While evidence for local adaptation has been traditionally evaluated using phenotypic data, modern methods for generating and analyzing landscape genomic data can directly quantify local adaptation by associating allelic variation with environmental variation. Here, we analyze both genomic and phenotypic variation of rubber rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa), a foundational shrub species of western North America. To quantify landscape genomic structure and provide perspective on patterns of local adaptation, we generated reduced representation sequencing data for 17 wild populations (222 individuals; 38,616 loci) spanning a range of environmental conditions. Population genetic analyses illustrated pronounced landscape genomic structure jointly shaped by geography and environment. Genetic-environment association (GEA) analyses using both redundancy analysis (RDA) and a machine-learning approach (Gradient Forests) indicated environmental variables (precipitation seasonality, slope, aspect, elevation, and annual precipitation) influenced spatial genomic structure, and were correlated with allele frequency shifts indicative of local adaptation at a consistent set of genomic regions. We compared our GEA based inference of local adaptation with phenotypic data collected by growing seeds from each population in a greenhouse common garden. Population differentiation in seed weight, emergence, and seedling traits was associated with environmental variables (e.g., precipitation seasonality) that were also implicated in GEA analyses, suggesting complementary conclusions about the drivers of local adaptation across different methods and data sources. Our results provide a baseline understanding of spatial genomic structure for E. nauseosa across the western Great Basin and illustrate the utility of GEA analyses for detecting the environmental causes and genetic signatures of local adaptation in a widely distributed plant species of restoration significance.

Funding

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Award: 2017-67019-26336

U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Award: L16AC00318

U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Award: L19AC00013