Geographic variation of flower traits in Narcissus papyraceus (Amaryllidaceae): do pollinators matter?

Rocio Barrales, R. Pino, R. Albaladejo, J. Arroyo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The geographic clinal variation of traits in organisms can indicate the possible causes of phenotypic evolution. We studied the correlates of flower trait variation in populations of a style-dimorphic plant, Narcissus papyraceus Ker-Gawl. within a region of high biogeographical significance, the Strait of Gibraltar. This species shows a geographic gradient in the style-morph ratio, suggested to be driven by pollinator shifts. We tested whether parallel geographic variation of perianth traits also exists, concomitant with vegetative trait variation or genetic similarity of plant populations. Location The Strait of Gibraltar region (SG hereafter, including both southwestern Iberian Peninsula and north-western Morocco). Methods We used univariate and multivariate analyses of flower and vegetative traits in 23 populations. We applied Mantel tests and partial Mantel correlations on vegetative and flower traits and geographic locations of populations to test for spatial effects. We used Moran’s autocorrelation analyses to explore the spatial structure within the range, and performed the analyses with and without the Moroccan samples to test for the effects of the SG on spatial patterns. Amplified fragment length polymorphism data were used to estimate the genetic distance between populations and to ascertain its relationship with morphometric distance. Results There was high variation between and within populations in both flower and vegetative traits. Mantel correlations between geographic and morphometric distances were not significant, but the exclusion of Moroccan populations revealed some distance effect. Partial Mantel correlation did not detect a significant correlation between flower and vegetative morphometric distances after controlling for geographic distance. There were opposite trends in spatial autocorrelograms of flower and vegetative traits. The genetic distance between pairs of populations was directly correlated with geographic distance; however, flower morphometric and genetic distances were not significantly correlated. Main conclusions The SG had some influence on phenotypes, although the causes remain to be determined. The opposite trend of variation in flower and vegetative traits, and the lack of correlation between genetic distance and dissimilarity of flower phenotypes favour the hypothesis of pollinator-mediated selection on flower morphology, although this may affect only particular traits and populations rather than overall phenotypes. Although stochastic population processes may have a small effect, other factors may account for the high flower variation within and between populations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1411-1422
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biogeography
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


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