Adaptive rather than non-adaptive evolution of Mimulus guttatus in its invasive range
van Kleunen, M.
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Adaptive and non-adaptive evolutionary processes are likely to play important roles in biological invasions but their relative importance has hardly ever been quantified. Moreover, although genetic differences between populations in their native versus invasive ranges may simply reflect different positions along a genetic latitudinal cline, this has rarely been controlled for. To study non-adaptive evolutionary processes in invasion of Mimulus guttatus, we used allozyme analyses on offspring of seven native populations from western North America, and three and four invasive populations from Scotland and New Zealand, respectively. To study quantitative genetic differentiation, we grew 2474 plants representing 17 native populations and the seven invasive populations in a common greenhouse environment under temporarily and permanently wet soil conditions. The absence of allozyme differentiation between the invasive and native range indicates that multiple genotypes had been introduced to Scotland and New Zealand, and suggests that founder effects and genetic drift played small, if any, roles in shaping genetic structure of invasive M. guttatus populations. Plants from the invasive and native range did not differ in phenology, floral traits and sexual and vegetative reproduction, and also not in plastic responses to the watering treatments. However, plants from the invasive range produced twice as many flower-bearing upright side branches than the ones from the native populations. Further, with increasing latitude of collection, vegetative reproduction of our experimental plants increased while sexual reproduction decreased. Plants from the invasive and native range shared these latitudinal clines. Because allozymes showed that the relatedness between native and invasive populations did not depend on latitude, this suggests that plants in the invasive regions have adapted to the local latitude. Overall, our study indicates that quantitative genetic variation of M. guttatus in its two invasive regions is shaped by adaptive evolutionary processes rather than by non-adaptive ones.