Genetic adaptation to soil acidification: experimental evidence from four grass species

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Genetic adaptation to soil acidification: experimental evidence from four grass species. / Göransson, Pernilla; Andersson, Stefan; Falkengren-Grerup, Ursula.

In: Evolutionary Ecology, Vol. 23, No. 6, 2009, p. 963-978.

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Göransson, Pernilla ; Andersson, Stefan ; Falkengren-Grerup, Ursula. / Genetic adaptation to soil acidification: experimental evidence from four grass species. In: Evolutionary Ecology. 2009 ; Vol. 23, No. 6. pp. 963-978.

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Genetic adaptation to soil acidification: experimental evidence from four grass species

AU - Göransson, Pernilla

AU - Andersson, Stefan

AU - Falkengren-Grerup, Ursula

PY - 2009

Y1 - 2009

N2 - Anthropogenic acidification has reduced soil pH and released potentially toxic aluminium (Al) ions in many regions. This investigation examines whether increased acidity has caused genetic adaptation to acidic conditions within the grass species Elymus caninus, Poa nemoralis, Deschampsia cespitosa and D. flexuosa. We sampled tussocks (genets) of each species in two regions of southern Sweden, differing in their exposure to acidifying deposition. The tolerance of the genets was tested in a solution experiment with different pH and Al concentrations. Our data suggest that species found at lower pH field locations have a greater tolerance to low pH and high Al levels than species found on less acidic soils. Analysis of variance showed a significant average effect of population and (or) genet in most species; however, we found little evidence of genetic adaptation to acidic conditions at the regional, population and micro-site level. In fact, there was no consistent change in the ranking of populations or genets with varying pH or Al concentration. Based on these results, we hypothesize that phenotypic plasticity rather than genetic adaptation has been favoured as the predominant mechanism to cope with soil acidity in the four grass species.

AB - Anthropogenic acidification has reduced soil pH and released potentially toxic aluminium (Al) ions in many regions. This investigation examines whether increased acidity has caused genetic adaptation to acidic conditions within the grass species Elymus caninus, Poa nemoralis, Deschampsia cespitosa and D. flexuosa. We sampled tussocks (genets) of each species in two regions of southern Sweden, differing in their exposure to acidifying deposition. The tolerance of the genets was tested in a solution experiment with different pH and Al concentrations. Our data suggest that species found at lower pH field locations have a greater tolerance to low pH and high Al levels than species found on less acidic soils. Analysis of variance showed a significant average effect of population and (or) genet in most species; however, we found little evidence of genetic adaptation to acidic conditions at the regional, population and micro-site level. In fact, there was no consistent change in the ranking of populations or genets with varying pH or Al concentration. Based on these results, we hypothesize that phenotypic plasticity rather than genetic adaptation has been favoured as the predominant mechanism to cope with soil acidity in the four grass species.

KW - Stress

KW - Tolerance

KW - Aluminium

KW - pH

KW - Local adaptation

KW - Genetic variation

U2 - 10.1007/s10682-008-9284-y

DO - 10.1007/s10682-008-9284-y

M3 - Article

VL - 23

SP - 963

EP - 978

JO - Evolutionary Ecology

T2 - Evolutionary Ecology

JF - Evolutionary Ecology

SN - 1573-8477

IS - 6

ER -