Abstract Detail


Branch, Haley [1], Moxley, Dylan [2], Angert, Amy [2].

Transgenerational plasticity and maternal effects alter drought responses in scarlet monkeyflower.

Past environments can have lasting effects on phenotypes, and these could be contradictory or supporting of rapid adaptation to climatic change. We performed a resurrection study with geographically distinct populations of scarlet monkey flower (Mimulus cardinalis), where ancestors and descendants were grown in a common garden. Seeds were collected prior to and during the peak of a severe drought that occurred in western USA (2012-2015). Populations from the north historically experience lower interannual variability in precipitation and higher mean annual precipitation than populations from the southern part of the range. Plants were grown for three generations and were exposure to either dry or wet treatments in a factorial design, resulting in four treatment history categories. We compared life history traits (germination and flowering date), fitness traits (seed number and pollen viability), and growth indices (specific leaf area and biomass) to ask 1) whether populations from specific regions are more likely to exhibit transgenerational plasticity based on historical climate?; and 2) is there evolutionary change in transgenerational plasticity following drought? We found that both transgenerational and maternal effects were important for explaining shifts in growth and reproduction. Environments from previous generations affected northern plants more than southern plants. Transgenerational plasticity was observed to increase plastic responses of northern plants, and the combination of two generations in dry treatments generally caused a compounding effect on the trait. Southern plants still exhibited phenotypic changes that were caused by parental and grandparental environments but showed varying patterns depending on the trait. These results suggest that climatically stable environments (north) result in more transgenerational plasticity and maternal effects because past environments are more likely to reflect current environments, but that climatic variability (south) can still result in changes to phenotypes. This work may help explain phenotypic lags in response to climatic changes and severe weather events.

1 - University Of British Columbia, Botany Room #3200, 6270 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada
2 - University of British Columbia, Room 3156 - 6270 University Boulevard, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z4, Canada

Evolutionary biology
Abiotic stress
Phenotypic plasticity

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Number: EC07001
Abstract ID:299
Candidate for Awards:Ecological Section Best Graduate Student Paper

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