Navigation Links
Natural selection enables purple loosestrife to invade northern Ontario

TORONTO, ON - University of Toronto research has found that purple loosestrife an invasive species that competes with native plants for light and nutrients and can degrade habitats for wildlife has evolved extremely rapidly, flowering about three weeks earlier as it has spread to northern Ontario. This has allowed populations of the species to thrive in the colder climate with a more than 30-fold increase in seed production.

"The ability of invasive species to rapidly adapt to local climate has not generally been considered to be an important factor affecting spread," said Dr. Rob Colautti, who conducted the research as a Ph.D. student in U of T's Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology under the supervision of Professor Spencer Barrett.

"Instead, factors such as escape from natural enemies including herbivores, predators, pathogens or parasites were thought to explain how species become invasive. We found that the evolution of local adaptation to climate in purple loosestrife increased reproduction as much as or more than escaping natural enemies. Understanding that species can evolve rapidly to local climates is important for predicting how invasive species spread and how native and non-native species alike will respond to climate change."

To determine whether populations have evolved local adaptation, the scientists collected seeds from three different climatic regions (north, south and intermediate latitudes in eastern N. America) and then grew them at three sites spanning the distribution of the species to see if there were differences in survival and reproduction, i.e. fitness. They found that 'home' plants collected from latitudes most similar to each common garden location always had higher fitness than the 'away' plants. For example, plants collected from northern latitudes had the highest fitness when grown at the northern site in Timmins, Ontario but the lowest fitness when grown at a southern site in northern Virginia relative to plants collected from southern latitudes.

The team's previous work showed that northern populations flower about 20 days earlier but at half the size of southern populations when both were grown in the same 'common garden' experiment. They wondered whether these genetic differences could account for the observation of locally adapted populations. So in the next phase of the research, they directly measured Darwinian natural selection on flowering time at each of the common garden sites. They found that early flowering was adaptive at the most northern site, because early-flowering plants produced the most offspring while plants with delayed flowering began reproduction near the end of the growing season, when pollinators were scarce and flowers were prone to frost damage. But later flowering was favoured by natural selection at more southern sites because delayed reproduction allowed plants to grow larger and produce more seeds when the growing season is longer. Remarkably these differences have evolved over the past 50 years as the species moved northwards, following its initial introduction to the east coast of the USA.


Contact: Kim Luke
University of Toronto

Related biology news :

1. Biology professor secures grant to save West Virginias primary natural history collection
2. Validity CTO to Present Natural ID Solutions for Improving Mobile Risk Management and User Experience at NFC Solutions Summit 2012
3. Honoring the fundamental role of microbes in the natural history of our planet
4. Resveratrol may be a natural exercise performance enhancer: U of A medical research
5. Naturally adhesive
6. No matter the drilling method, natural gas is a much-needed tool to battle global warming
7. The ecology of natural gas
8. Bringing natural history collections out of the dark
9. Health care savings, naturally
10. Eco-computer with a natural wood look
11. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev receives $450,000 grant to conduct oil and natural gas research
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Natural selection enables purple loosestrife to invade northern Ontario
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015  Rubicon Genomics, ... for U.S. distribution of its DNA library preparation ... and Rubicon,s new ThruPLEX Plasma-seq kit. ThruPLEX Plasma-seq ... the preparation of NGS libraries for liquid biopsies--the ... diagnostic and prognostic applications in cancer and other ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... BERLIN, Germany , October 27, 2015 ... 2015. SMI,s Automated Semantic Gaze Mapping technology (ASGM) automatically ... SMI,s Eye Tracking Glasses , so that ... Suite BeGaze. --> Munich, Germany ... technology (ASGM) automatically maps data from mobile eye tracking ...
(Date:10/23/2015)... 2015 Research and Markets ( ) ... Recognition Biometrics Market 2015-2019" report to their offering. ... The global voice recognition biometrics market to grow at ... --> --> The report, Global ... on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 24, 2015 , ... The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced Dr. ... Award. Presented annually since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes an individual’s distinguished ... , Clarke, of Iselin, N.J., is an extension specialist of turfgrass pathology in ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... Conference in New York on Wednesday, December ... Helen Torley , president and CEO, will provide a corporate overview. ... New York at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT . ... investor relations, will provide a corporate overview. --> th ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Copper is an essential ... bound to proteins, copper is also toxic to cells. With a $1.3 million ... (WPI) will conduct a systematic study of copper in the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... QUEBEC CITY , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - ... the request of IIROC on behalf of the Toronto ... this news release there are no corporate developments that ... price. --> --> ... --> . --> Aeterna Zentaris ...
Breaking Biology Technology: