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Evaluating the role of ecological isolation in maintaining the species boundary between Silene dioica and S. latifolia
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-08, 18:58 authored by Dave GoulsonDave Goulson
The relative importance of floral versus ecological isolation in preventing introgression remains unclear. This study examines whether ecological isolation can explain the continuing integrity of Silene dioica and S. latifolia where floral isolation is weak and hybrids are fully viable. Eighteen small replicate founder populations of 6 individuals (3 males and 3 females) of either S. latifolia, S. dioica or hybrids were created in woodland and in open sites in southern UK. Survival, reproduction and introgression of these populations were examined over 9 years. S. latifolia and hybrid plants suffered higher mortality than S. dioica in woodland. In open sites, there was extensive introgression, with few or no pure S. latifolia or S. dioica surviving by the end of the experiment. The experiment suggests that the integrity of S. dioica is maintained by its ability to survive in shaded habitats where S. latifolia and hybrids cannot persist. However, how S. latifolia survives as a distinct species in the study area remains a puzzle. Immigration from regions where S. latifolia occurs in isolation (i.e. large-scale ecological isolation) may balance introgression in the study area. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009.
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- Evolution, Behaviour and Environment Publications
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