Evolutionary ecology of Datura stramonium: Equal plant fitness benefits of growth and resistance against herbivory

  • Valverde P
  • Fornoni J
  • Núñez-Farfán J
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This study evaluated how natural selection act upon two proposed alternatives of defence (growth and resistance) against natural enemies in a common garden experiment using genetic material (full-sibs) from three populations of the annual plant Datura stramonium. Genetic and phenotypic correlations were used to search for a negative association between both alternatives of defence. Finally, the presence/absence of natural enemies was manipulated to evaluate the selective value of growth as a response against herbivory. Results indicated the presence of genetic variation for growth and resistance (1--relative damage), whereas only population differentiation for resistance was detected. No correlation between growth and resistance was detected either at the phenotypic or the genetic level. Selection analysis revealed the presence of equal fitness benefits of growth and resistance among populations. The presence/absence of natural herbivores revealed that herbivory did not alter the pattern of selection on growth. The results indicate that both strategies of defence can evolve simultaneously within populations of D. stramonium.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Compensation
  • Datura stramonium
  • Defensive strategies
  • Herbivory
  • Natural selection
  • Tradeoffs

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  • P. L. Valverde

  • J. Fornoni

  • J. Núñez-Farfán

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