Outcrossing rate and inbreeding depression in the herbaceous autotetraploid, Campanula americana

L. F. Galloway, J. R. Etterson, J. L. Hamrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Polyploidy in angiosperms is frequently associated with an increase in self-compatibility. Self-fertilization can enhance polyploid establishment, and theory predicts reduced inbreeding depression in polyploids relative to diploids. Therefore, we may expect mating systems that promote self-fertilization or mixed-mating in polyploid species. However, few studies have measured polyploid mating systems and inbreeding depression. We report the outcrossing rate and inbreeding depression for Campanula americana, a self-compatible protandrous herb. Allozyme genotypes suggest that C. americana is an autotetraploid with tetrasomic inheritance. We found that the multilocus outcrossing rate, tm = 0.938, did not differ from unity. This result was unexpected since previous work demonstrated that pollinators frequently move from male- to female-phase flowers on the same plant, that is, geitonogamy. Self and outcross pollinations were conducted for three populations. Offspring were germinated in controlled conditions and grown to maturity in pots in nature. Inbreeding depression was not significant for most seed and germination characters. However, all later life traits except flowering date differed between inbred and outcrossed individuals resulting in a 26% reduction in cumulative fitness for inbred plants. Limited early- and moderate later-life inbreeding depression suggest that it is buffered by the higher levels of heterozygosity found in an autotetraploid. C. americana appears to have a flexible mating system where within flower protandry and/or cryptic self-incompatibility result in a high outcrossing rate when pollinators are abundant, but self-compatibility and limited inbreeding depression maintain reproductive success when mates are limited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-315
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank E Miller for help with pollinations and seed germination; the Mountain Lake Biological Station for logistical support; M Dudash for comments on a previous version of the manuscript; and the National Science Foundation (DEB-9752947, DEB-9974126 to LFG) and a UVA FEST award for financial support.


  • Autopolyploid
  • Inbreeding depression
  • Mating system
  • Outcrossing rate
  • Polyploid

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