Minghao Wang, Jingru Wang, Aiping Zhang, Xiaowei Zhang, Shan Sun, Changming Zhao
Functional traits related to environmental divergence in combination with phylogenetic relationship of Picea species
Dendrobiology 2018, vol. 80: 131-142
Background: Plants have adapted to fine-scale environmental heterogeneity through ecologically important traits, leading to new lineages. This suggests that differentiation of important traits has been beneficial to habitat partitioning among closely related species. However, the pattern of ecological divergencesand differentiation of functional traits in combination with phylogenetic relationships have not been widely examined.
Material and methods: To illustrate the pattern of ecological divergences of nine Picea species, spatial evolutionary and ecological vicariance analysis (seeva) was used to quantify and test the divergence between sister lineages. Five functional traits were measured in a common garden experiment. For all traits the quantitative convergence index (QVI) was determined. Furthermore, their relationships with divergent environmental variables were analyzed in the context of phylogenetic relationships.
Results: Temperature variables (maximum temperature of warmest month and temperature annual range) split at basal nodes and precipitation variables (annual precipitation and precipitation of driest quarter) split at terminal nodes. Conservative traits were leaf mass per area (LMA) and net photosynthetic rate (Pn), which reflected selective retention when ancestors suffered cold environmental separation. Meanwhile, linear stomatal density (LSD), carbon-13 isotope ratio (δ13C) and water potential at 50% loss of hydraulic conductivity (P50) were convergent between species, but only P50 exhibited adaption to different precipitation conditions.
The nine Picea species exhibit a distinct environmental divergence pattern. LMA and Pn were selectively retained when their ancestors were subjected to cold environmental separation. P50 was an important trait with respect to adaptation to precipitation differences. This research provided a new way of expounding the correlation between environment, functional traits and phylogeny, deepening our understanding of environmental divergence, trait differentiation and speciation.
Keywords: δ13C, P50, Picea, seeva, quantitative convergence index