|Published in||The American Naturalist. 194|
Gorné, Lucas & Diaz, Sandra.
|IAI Project||SGP-HW 090|
|Meta-analysis Shows That Rapid Phenotypic Change in Angiosperms in Response to Environmental Change Is Followed by Stasis.pdf|
The amount and rate of phenotypic change at ecological time scales varies widely, but there has not been a comprehensive quantitative synthesis of patterns and causes of such variation for plants. Present knowledge is based predominantly on animals, whose differences with plants in the origin of germ cells and the level of modularity (among others) could make it invalid for plants. We synthesized data on contemporary phenotypic responses of angiosperms to environmental change and show that if extinction does not occur, quantitative traits change quickly in the first few years following the environmental novelty and then remain stable. This general pattern is independent from lifespan, growth form, spatial scale or the type of trait. Our work shows that high amounts and rates of phenotypic change at contemporary timescales observed in plants are consistent with the pattern of stasis and bounded evolution previously observed over longer time frames. We also found evidence that may contradict some common ideas about phenotypic evolution: (1) the total amount of phenotypic change observed does not differ significantly according to growth form or lifespan, (2) greater and faster divergence tend to occur between populations connected at the local scale, where gene flow could be intense, than between distant populations, and that (3) traits closely related to fitness change as much and as fast as other traits.