Phenotypic plasticity and local adaptation are the two main processes underlying trait variability. Under rapid environmental change, phenotypic plasticity, if adaptive, could increase the odds for organisms to persist. However, little is known on how environmental variation has shaped plasticity across species ranges over time. Here, we assess whether the portion of phenotypic variation of tree populations linked to the environment is related to the inter-annual climate variability at origin and how it varies among populations across species ranges and age. To this aim, we used 372,647 individual tree height measurements of three Mediterranean pine species: Pinus nigra Arnold, P. pinaster Aiton and P. pinea L. Measurements were taken in a network of 38 common gardens established in Europe and North Africa with 315 populations covering the distribution range of the species. We fitted linear mixed-effect models of tree height as a function of age, population, climate and competition effects. Models estimated tree height response curves at the population level and indexes of populations' phenotypic variation, as a proxy of phenotypic plasticity, at 4, 8 and 16 years old, and related these indexes to the inter-annual climate variability at origin. Tree height varied more in the first years after outplanting than in older trees. P. pinea showed higher phenotypic variation in tree height than P. pinaster and P. nigra. Phenotypic variation in tree height may be partly adaptive, but differently across species, correlating with climate variability at origin correlated.
ETS Ingenierías Agrarias Universidad de Valladolid - Avd. Madrid s/n
34004 - PALENCIA - Localización
INIA-CIFOR - Ctra. A Coruña km 7,5
28040 - MADRID - Localización
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