Main content area

Ontogenetic plasticity of anatomical and ecophysiological traits and their correlations in Iris pumila plants grown in contrasting light conditions

Avramov, Stevan, Miljković, Danijela, Klisarić, Nataša Barišić, Živković, Uroš, Tarasjev, Aleksej
Plant species biology 2017 v.32 no.4 pp. 392-402
Iris (Iridaceae), chlorophyll, ecophysiology, environmental factors, genetic variation, genotype, leaf area, leaves, mature plants, ontogeny, phenotype, phenotypic plasticity, seedlings
To better understand what directs and limits the evolution of phenotype, constraints in the realization of the optimal phenotype need to be addressed. That includes estimations of variability of adaptively important traits as well as their correlation structures, but also evaluation of how they are affected by relevant environmental conditions and development phases. The aims of this study were to analyze phenotypic plasticity, genetic variability and correlation structures of important Iris pumila leaf traits in different light environments and ontogenetic phases, and estimate its evolutionary potential. Stomatal density, specific leaf area, total chlorophyll concentration and chlorophyll a/b ratio were analyzed on I. pumila full‐sib families in the seedling phase and on the same plants after 3 years of growth in contrasting light conditions typical for ontogenetic stage in question. There was a significant phenotypic plasticity in both ontogenetic stages, but significant genetic variability was detected only for chlorophyll concentrations. Correlations of the same trait between different stages were weak due to changes in environmental conditions and difference in ontogenetic reaction norms of different genotypes. Ontogenetic variability of correlation structures was detected, where correlations and integration were higher in seedlings compared with adult plants 3 years later. Correlations were affected by environmental conditions, with integration being higher in the lower light conditions, but correlations between phases being stronger in the higher light treatment. These findings demonstrated that the analyzed traits can be selected and can mostly evolve independently in different environments and ontogenetic stages, with low genetic variability as a potentially main constraint.