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Data from: Belowground competition favors character convergence but not character displacement in root traits

Citation

Colom, Sara; Baucom, Regina (2020), Data from: Belowground competition favors character convergence but not character displacement in root traits, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.ngf1vhhsh

Abstract

1. Character displacement can play a major role in species ecology and evolution, however, research testing whether character displacement can influence the evolution of root traits in plant systems remains scarce in the literature. Here we investigated the potential that character displacement may influence the evolution of root traits using two closely related morning glory species, Ipomoea purpurea and I. hederacea.

2. We performed a field experiment where we grew the common morning glory, I. purpurea, in the presence and absence of competition from I. hederacea and examined the potential that the process of character displacement could influence the evolution of root traits.

3. We found maternal line variation in root phenotypes and evidence that belowground competition acts as an agent of selection on these traits. Our test of character displacement, however, showed evidence of character convergence on our measure of root architecture rather than displacement. These results suggest that plants may be constrained by their local environments to express a phenotype that enhances fitness. Therefore, the conditions of the competitive environment experienced by a plant may influence the potential for character convergence or displacement to influence the evolution of root traits.