Plant-herbivore synchrony and selection on plant flowering phenology

Elsa Fogelström, Martin Olofsson, Diana Posledovich, Christer Wiklund, Johan Dahlgren, Johan Ehrlén

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Abstract

Temporal variation in natural selection has profound effects on the evolutionary trajectories of populations. One potential source of variation in selection is that differences in thermal reaction norms and temperature influence the relative phenology of interacting species. We manipulated the phenology of the butterfly herbivore Anthocharis cardamines relative to genetically identical populations of its host plant, Cardamine pratensis, and examined the effects on butterfly preferences and selection acting on the host plant. We found that butterflies preferred plants at an intermediate flowering stage, regardless of the timing of butterfly flight relative to flowering onset of the population. Consequently, the probability that plant genotypes differing in timing of flowering should experience a butterfly attack depended strongly on relative phenology. These results suggest that differences in spring temperature influence the direction of herbivore-mediated selection on flowering phenology, and that climatic conditions can influence natural selection also when phenotypic preferences remain constant.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftEcology
Vol/bind98
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)703–711
ISSN0012-9658
DOI
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2017

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