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Within- and trans-generational plasticity affects the opportunity for selection in barbed goatgrass (Aegilops Triuncialis)

Espeland, Erin K., Rice, Kevin J.
American journal of botany 2012 v.99 no.12 pp. 1
Aegilops triuncialis, ecotypes, genotype-environment interaction, habitats, introduced species, invasive species, natural selection, new species, phenotypic plasticity, plant stress, seeds, soil types, stress response
Although genetic change can enhance the success of many biological invaders, phenotypic plasticity may also facilitate establishment and spread of introduced species in new environments. To determine if processes influencing the opportunity for selection differ between resource- rich and resource- poor edaphic habitats, we examined within- and trans-generational plasticity in barbed goatgrass on stressful and non-stressful soil types. On stressful soil, both within- and trans-generational plasticity canalized fitness. Canalization from trans-generational plasticity was greater (i.e. 40% reduction in variability for all seed traits) compared to within-generation (i.e. 32% reduction in variability for seed mass only). Although plasticity has often been cited as a factor facilitating the spread of invasive plants, plastic response to stress may actually reduce the opportunity for selection to create adapted ecotypes.