Title No inbreeding depression in an outcrossing Alpine species: the breeding system of Campanula thyrsoides
Author/s Hafdis Hanna Ægisdóttir, Patrick Kuss, Jürg Stöcklin
Year 2007
Journal Flora 202: 218-225
Abstract Plants that live in fragmented landscapes, where populations are isolated from each other and in which long-distance dispersal is essential for colonization of empty sites, reproduction should be favoured by self-compatibility (Baker’s law). Nevertheless, outcrossing mechanisms, such as self-incompatibility and dichogamy, are common in many species and are often maintained by inbreeding depression in the fitness of selfed progeny. Here, we studied the breeding system and the consequences of selfing and sister mating in Campanula thyrsoides, a perennial monocarp, which is found in the naturally fragmented landscape of the Alps. An experiment with controlled pollinations was set up in the common garden with plants grown from seeds originating from 14 seed families, collected in the siliceous Central Alps, where this plant is found on isolated carbonate bearing outcrops.
Our results indicate that C. thyrsoides has a strong self-incompatibility system (SI) with no or low seed set in selfed flowers compared to outcrossed and sister-crossed flowers. Moreover, the SI system in C. thyrsoides did not break down with flower age as in some other Campanula species. Surprisingly, there was no significant difference in seed set, seed weight, germination percentage, seedling survival and size between outcrossed and sister-crossed offspring, which indicates no inbreeding depression.
We suggest that the absence of inbreeding depression in this outcrossing species might be a result of frequent bottlenecks during colonization of the isolated habitats in the alpine landscape.
Keywords : Alpine plants, bottlenecks, fragmented landscape, self-incompatibility, Swiss Alps
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