Abstract Detail


Landoni, Beatrice [1], Suarez, Pilar [2], Habeahan, Rico [2], Brennan, Adrian [2], Perez-Barrales, Rocio [1].

What creates patterns of variation in the flowering phenology of Linum bienne?

Species with a wide geographical distribution experience a range of climatic conditions. Photoperiod, temperature, and precipitation co-vary along latitudinal and altitudinal clines, often driving the distribution and phenology of plant species. Among phenological events, flowering initiation represents the shift from vegetative to reproductive phase, affecting plant fitness and demographic events. It is not surprising that species with a wide geographic distribution show variation in flowering initiation, since different molecular pathways that regulate flowering initiation are triggered by environmental cues, such as photoperiod and temperature. We studied the variation of flowering initiation and associated reproductive traits in Linum bienne, the wild ancestor of cultivated flax. Linum bienne is a winter annual or biennial species distributed across a wide geographical range, from the Mediterranean basin to the Atlantic coasts of Europe. Within the eastern range of the distribution, the species shows strong population structure and variation at a flowering locus, which facilitated the adaptation to northern latitudes in the crop. In this study, we surveyed 30 L. bienne populations across its western range, between the South-West of Spain and the North of England, with the goal of (i) describing the natural variation of flowering initiation and fruiting rate in relation to latitude and altitude under control greenhouse conditions, (ii) investigate if populations from the southern and northern range rely on vernalization to initiate flowering, and (iii) identify whether local climatic conditions predict variability in reproductive traits better than latitude or altitude. Results showed that flowering was delayed at higher latitudes and altitudes among populations. Populations from the southern range also fruited earlier and at a higher rate compared to populations from the northern range. Vernalisation strongly reduced the number of days to flowering in northern populations, whereas southern populations showed a milder response in flowering between control and vernalisation treatments. A preliminary principal component analysis of climatic variables showed that solar radiation and temperature during summer months produce a split between the populations┬┤ locations into two main groups, one containing populations from Sicily and southern Spain, the other one containing populations from Northern Spain, France, and the UK. Overall, our results indicate that at the western range of the distribution, L. bienne has evolved two different strategies, early flowering and fast fruiting in the southern range, and late flowering and slow fruiting in the northern range. The two strategies might reflect adaptation to different climates.

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1 - University of Portsmouth, School of Biological Sciences, Portsmouth, PO12DY, UK
2 - Durham University, School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Durham, DH13LE, UK

instraspecific variation

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Number: ECO1002
Abstract ID:573
Candidate for Awards:Ecological Section Best Graduate Student Paper

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