Does adaptation to historical climate shape plant responses to future rainfall patterns? A rainfall manipulation experiment with common ragweed

Amanda J. Gorton, Peter L Tiffin, David Moeller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Climate change is affecting both the volume and distribution of precipitation, which in turn is expected to affect the growth and reproduction of plant populations. The near ubiquity of local adaptation suggests that adaptive differentiation may have important consequences for how populations are affected by and respond to changing precipitation. Here, we manipulated rainfall in a common garden to examine how differentiation among populations of common ragweed, Ambrosia artemisiifolia (Asteraceae) affects responses to water availability expected under climate change. We collected seeds from 26 populations along gradients of historical rainfall and used event-based rainout shelters and watering additions to simulate drier summer conditions and more extreme rainfall events, respectively. Ambrosia artemisiifolia had higher fitness on average under reduced rainfall, suggesting it may spread and become more abundant in areas projected to become hotter and drier during the summer months. We also found strong evidence for phenotypic and fitness clines across both latitude and longitude, and that phenological responses and fitness effects of altered rainfall depended on seed source or historical climate. The effect of rainfall treatment on female fitness was highest in western and mid longitudes, but there was little effect on eastern populations. Across latitude, the effect of rainfall treatment on male fitness was highest in southern populations. These phenology and fitness clines suggest that adaptive differentiation across the species’ range has the potential to shape future responses of A. artemisiifolia populations to climate change, particularly altered patterns of rainfall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)941-953
Number of pages13
JournalOecologia
Volume190
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

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plant response
climate
rain
rainfall
fitness
Ambrosia artemisiifolia
experiment
cline
climate change
seed
plant reproduction
local adaptation
summer
longitude
seeds
water availability
shelter
phenology
gardens
garden

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Latitudinal gradient
  • Local adaptation
  • Local maladaptation
  • Range limits

Cite this

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abstract = "Climate change is affecting both the volume and distribution of precipitation, which in turn is expected to affect the growth and reproduction of plant populations. The near ubiquity of local adaptation suggests that adaptive differentiation may have important consequences for how populations are affected by and respond to changing precipitation. Here, we manipulated rainfall in a common garden to examine how differentiation among populations of common ragweed, Ambrosia artemisiifolia (Asteraceae) affects responses to water availability expected under climate change. We collected seeds from 26 populations along gradients of historical rainfall and used event-based rainout shelters and watering additions to simulate drier summer conditions and more extreme rainfall events, respectively. Ambrosia artemisiifolia had higher fitness on average under reduced rainfall, suggesting it may spread and become more abundant in areas projected to become hotter and drier during the summer months. We also found strong evidence for phenotypic and fitness clines across both latitude and longitude, and that phenological responses and fitness effects of altered rainfall depended on seed source or historical climate. The effect of rainfall treatment on female fitness was highest in western and mid longitudes, but there was little effect on eastern populations. Across latitude, the effect of rainfall treatment on male fitness was highest in southern populations. These phenology and fitness clines suggest that adaptive differentiation across the species’ range has the potential to shape future responses of A. artemisiifolia populations to climate change, particularly altered patterns of rainfall.",
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AB - Climate change is affecting both the volume and distribution of precipitation, which in turn is expected to affect the growth and reproduction of plant populations. The near ubiquity of local adaptation suggests that adaptive differentiation may have important consequences for how populations are affected by and respond to changing precipitation. Here, we manipulated rainfall in a common garden to examine how differentiation among populations of common ragweed, Ambrosia artemisiifolia (Asteraceae) affects responses to water availability expected under climate change. We collected seeds from 26 populations along gradients of historical rainfall and used event-based rainout shelters and watering additions to simulate drier summer conditions and more extreme rainfall events, respectively. Ambrosia artemisiifolia had higher fitness on average under reduced rainfall, suggesting it may spread and become more abundant in areas projected to become hotter and drier during the summer months. We also found strong evidence for phenotypic and fitness clines across both latitude and longitude, and that phenological responses and fitness effects of altered rainfall depended on seed source or historical climate. The effect of rainfall treatment on female fitness was highest in western and mid longitudes, but there was little effect on eastern populations. Across latitude, the effect of rainfall treatment on male fitness was highest in southern populations. These phenology and fitness clines suggest that adaptive differentiation across the species’ range has the potential to shape future responses of A. artemisiifolia populations to climate change, particularly altered patterns of rainfall.

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