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Phenotypic, fitness and environmental data in support of the publication: selection favors adaptive plasticity in a long-term reciprocal transplant experiment

Citation

Anderson, Jill; Jameel, M. Inam; Geber, Monica (2021), Phenotypic, fitness and environmental data in support of the publication: selection favors adaptive plasticity in a long-term reciprocal transplant experiment, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.jh9w0vtbt

Abstract

Spatial and temporal environmental variation can favor the evolution of adaptive phenotypic plasticity, such that genotypes alter their phenotypes in response to local conditions to maintain fitness across heterogeneous landscapes. When individuals show greater fitness in one habitat than another, asymmetric migration can restrict adaptation in the lower quality environment. In these cases, selection is predicted to favor traits that enhance fitness in the higher-quality habitat at the expense of fitness in the marginal habitat. Here, we test whether plasticity is adaptive in a system regulated by demographic source-sink dynamics. Vaccinium elliottii (Ericaceae) occurs in dry upland and flood-prone bottomland forests throughout the southeastern United States, and shows patterns consistent with source-sink dynamics. We conducted a multi-year field experiment to evaluate whether plasticity in foliar morphology increases survival and lifespan. Both across and within habitats, selection favored plasticity in specific leaf area, stomatal density, and leaf size. Stabilizing selection acted on plasticity in stomatal density within habitats, suggesting that extreme levels of plasticity are disadvantageous. Thus, even in systems driven by source-sink dynamics, temporal and spatial variation in conditions across the landscape and within habitat types can favor the evolution of plasticity.