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Directional selection on tree seedling traits driven by experimental drought differs between mesic and dry populations


Costa e Silva, J and Jordan, R and Potts, BM and Pinkard, E and Prober, SM, Directional selection on tree seedling traits driven by experimental drought differs between mesic and dry populations, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 9 Article 722964. ISSN 2296-701X (2021) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright ゥ 2021 Costa e Silva, Jordan, Potts, Pinkard and Prober. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License ( The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

DOI: doi:10.3389/fevo.2021.722964


We evaluated population differences and drought-induced phenotypic selection on four seedling traits of the Australian forest tree Eucalyptus pauciflora using a glasshouse dry-down experiment. We compared dry and mesic populations and tested for directional selection on lamina length (reflecting leaf size), leaf shape, the node of ontogenetic transition to the petiolate leaf (reflecting the loss of vegetative juvenility), and lignotuber size (reflecting a recovery trait). On average, the dry population had smaller and broader leaves, greater retention of the juvenile leaf state and larger lignotubers than the mesic population, but the populations did not differ in seedling survival. While there was statistical support for directional selection acting on the focal traits in one or other population, and for differences between populations in selection gradient estimates for two traits, only one trait様amina length容xhibited a pattern of directional selection consistent with the observed population differences being a result of past adaptation to reduce seedling susceptibility to acute drought. The observed directional selection for lamina length in the mesic population suggests that future increases in drought risk in the wild will shift the mean of the mesic population toward that of the dry population. Further, we provide evidence suggesting an early age trade-off between drought damage and recovery traits, with phenotypes which develop larger lignotubers early being more susceptible to drought death. Such trade-offs could have contributed to the absence of population mean differences in survival, despite marked differentiation in seedling traits.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:adaptation to drought, trade-off, leaf length and shape, vegetative juvenility, lignotuber size, selection gradient, generalized linear mixed model, Eucalyptus pauciflora
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Biological adaptation
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial systems and management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Jordan, R (Dr Rebecca Jordan)
UTAS Author:Potts, BM (Professor Brad Potts)
ID Code:148351
Year Published:2021
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP190102053)
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2022-01-02
Last Modified:2022-04-07
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