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Protocols in ecological and environmental plant physiology

 

Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 61(7)

Correlated morphological and genetic patterns in Embothrium coccineum (Proteaceae) across climate and geography: can Embothrium survive patagonian climate change?

Cintia P. Souto A C and Peter E. Smouse B

A Laboratorio Ecotono, Universidad Nacional del Comahue, Quintral 1250, Bariloche 8400, Argentina.
B Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA.
C Corresponding author. Email: cintia.souto@crub.uncoma.edu.ar

Australian Journal of Botany 61(7) 516-527 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/BT13214
Submitted: 29 August 2013  Accepted: 9 October 2013   Published: 11 February 2014


 
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Abstract

Adaptive radiation and reproductive isolation can determine the biogeographic structure of any species. We examine patterns of biotic variation in Embothrium coccineum, a Proteaceae tree that spans 20° of latitude and is both morphologically and genetically highly variable. We aim to (1) explore the correspondence between these biotic patterns and current geographic and climatic gradients, and (2) determine whether and how those patterns are likely to respond to changing climate. We conducted separate principal component analyses on biotic and abiotic sets of variables for 34 populations of Embothrium coccineum, accounting for a large fraction of the total variation in each. We then used canonical correlation analyses to optimise the match of those gradients onto each other. Smaller, rounder leaves and particular alleles typify the colder and drier parts of the range, whereas larger, lanceolate leaves and other alleles typify warmer and moister areas. Finally, we mapped biotic profiles onto a predicted climatic landscape, on the basis of doubling of CO2 projections. The climatic regime is predicted to shift geographically, but this lineage has successfully responded to repeated and dramatic climatic shifts since the Oligocene, and it should also be able to move and adapt quickly enough to meet the present challenge. More generally, our analytic approach can be extended to analysis of biotic and abiotic patterns in other species facing climatic challenges. Where there is enough biogeographic variation to provide adaptively relevant substrate, and where propagule dispersal is sufficiently extensive to keep up with the pace of spatial climatic shift, such taxa should be able to cope with shifting climate.

Additional keywords: climatic gradients, genetic variation, geographic metrics, multivariate analysis, phenotypic patterns.


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