Soil-mediated local adaptation alters seedling survival and performance

David Solance Smith, Jennifer A. Schweitzer, Philip Turk, Joseph K. Bailey, Stephen C. Hart, Stephen M Shuster, Thomas G Whitham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background and aims: Soils can act as agents of natural selection, causing differential fitness among genotypes and/or families of the same plant species, especially when soils have extreme physical or chemical properties. More subtle changes in soils, such as variation in microbial communities, may also act as agents of selection. We hypothesized that variation in soil properties within a single river drainage can be a selective gradient, driving local adaptation in plants. Methods: Using seeds collected from individual genotypes of Populus angustifolia James and soils collected from underneath the same trees, we use a reciprocal transplant design to test whether seedlings would be locally adapted to their parental soil type. Results: We found three patterns: 1. Soils from beneath individual genotypes varied in pH, soil texture, nutrient content, microbial biomass and the physiological status of microorganisms. 2. Seedlings grown in local soils experienced 2. 5-fold greater survival than seedlings planted in non-local soils. 3. Using a composite of height, number of leaves and leaf area to measure plant growth, seedlings grew ~17. 5% larger in their local soil than in non-local soil. Conclusions: These data support the hypothesis that variation in soils across subtle gradients can act as an important selective agent, causing differential fitness and local adaptation in plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-251
Number of pages9
JournalPlant and Soil
Volume352
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2012

Fingerprint

local adaptation
seedling
seedlings
soil
genotype
plant adaptation
fitness
Populus angustifolia
physiological state
soil texture
natural selection
leaf area
microbial biomass
microbial communities
soil type
microbial community
chemical property
soil types
soil properties
physical properties

Keywords

  • Home-field advantage
  • Local adaptation
  • Phospholipid fatty acid biomarkers
  • Plant soil ineractions
  • Populus
  • Soil as selective agent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science

Cite this

Soil-mediated local adaptation alters seedling survival and performance. / Smith, David Solance; Schweitzer, Jennifer A.; Turk, Philip; Bailey, Joseph K.; Hart, Stephen C.; Shuster, Stephen M; Whitham, Thomas G.

In: Plant and Soil, Vol. 352, No. 1-2, 03.2012, p. 243-251.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Smith, David Solance ; Schweitzer, Jennifer A. ; Turk, Philip ; Bailey, Joseph K. ; Hart, Stephen C. ; Shuster, Stephen M ; Whitham, Thomas G. / Soil-mediated local adaptation alters seedling survival and performance. In: Plant and Soil. 2012 ; Vol. 352, No. 1-2. pp. 243-251.
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