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Variable selection along a successional gradient

TitleVariable selection along a successional gradient
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1989
AuthorsScheiner SM

Patterns of selection were measured in populations of the perennial grass Danthonia spicata from a successional gradient in northern lower Michigan for a five-year period. Phenotypic variation was found both within and among populations for morphological, reproductive, and life-history traits. Two fitness components were measured: fecundity (total number of spikelets produced) and mortality (number of years an individual lived). Multiple-regression analysis of relative reproductive effort (percentage of culms that flowered), culm length, and leaf length against fitness showed substantial variation in the magnitude and direction of selection among the populations and among the fitness components. When three other reproductive traits were added to the analysis, there were no qualitative changes in estimates of directional selection coefficients, but there were pronounced changes in estimates of stabilizing/disruptive selection components. Patterns of selection were concordant with previously measured genetic changes in reproductive effort along the successional gradient but not concordant with genetic changes in culm length and leaf length. These same patterns were found in comparisons of Michigan and North Carolina populations.