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Morphology and genetics of Lythrum salicaria from latitudinal gradients of the Northern Hemisphere grown in cold and hot common gardens

January 30, 2019

The aim of this project was to compare the phenotypic responses of global populations of Lythrum salicaria in cold/dry and hot/humid environments to determine if phenotypic plasticity varied between the native and invasive ranges, and secondarily if this variation was linked to genetic diversity. Common garden studies were conducted in Třeboň, Czech Republic, and Lafayette, Louisiana, USA (cold/dry vs. hot/humid garden, respectively), using populations from latitudinal gradients in Eurasia and North America. Lythrum salicaria seeds collected from the same maternal plants across these latitudinal gradients were germinated and grown in Třeboň and Lafayette. Tissue masses (above-, below-ground, inflorescence and total) of these individuals were assessed at the end of each growing season (2006–2008). Worldwide field measurements of L. salicaria height were made by volunteers from 2004–2016. Biomass and height data were analyzed using the General Linear Model framework and multivariate techniques. Molecular markers (amplified fragment length polymorphisms) of individuals used in the common garden study were analyzed using traditional genetic diversity metrics and Bayesian clustering algorithms in STRUCTURE. Reaction norms were developed from differences in maternal plant responses in Třeboň versus Lafayette. In the common garden studies, stem/leaf, root and total biomass generally were highest for individuals grown from seeds collected in the southern part of the range in the cold garden, particularly by the third year of the study. In contrast, inflorescence biomass in the cold garden was higher by the third year in individuals from mid-latitude populations. As measured by volunteers, plants were taller in Eurasia than in North America moving from north to south with the pattern switching southward of 40°N latitude. Genetic diversity was similar between native and non-native invasive populations regardless of geographical origin of the seed and was not significantly different in the GLM Select model (p > 0.05). Reaction norm slopes showed that Eurasia had larger values than North America for reaction norms for above-ground and total biomass. Plants from the seeds of mother plants from Turkey had wide variation in total biomass when grown in Třeboň versus Lafayette; this variation in response within certain populations may have contributed to the lack of population-level differences in plasticity. These results indicate no loss of genetic diversity for L. salicaria during its North American invasion, nor reduction in plastic tissue allocation responses to a varying environment, which may help explain some of its invasive qualities and which could be of adaptive value under changing future environments.

Publication Year 2019
Title Morphology and genetics of Lythrum salicaria from latitudinal gradients of the Northern Hemisphere grown in cold and hot common gardens
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0208300
Authors Beth A. Middleton, Steven E. Travis, Barbora Kubátová, Darren Johnson, Keith R. Edwards
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title PLoS ONE
Index ID 70201807
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Wetland and Aquatic Research Center