Rarity as a life-history correlate in Dudleya (Crassulaceae)

Ann E. Dorsey, Paul Wilson
2011 American Journal of Botany  
Premise of the study : Differences in rarity among species can be caused by adaptation to local conditions along with correlated evolution in characters that limit geographic range size. For this kind of divergence, the resulting species differ in their ability to thrive in varying environments. Because rare species are more prone to extinction than widespread species, trade-offs in life history predispose the resulting lineages to clade selection. • Methods : Nine Dudleya species live in the
more » ... nta Monica Mountains: fi ve neoendemics, one species intermediate in rarity, and three with broader ranges. Life-history traits were correlated against one another. To understand habitat dependence, the species were grown in an inland garden and in a coastal garden, and the disparity in growth and reproduction in the two gardens was compared among species. • Key results : Rare species reproduced earlier and grew to be smaller than common species. The small body size of the rare species was correlated with small reproductive outputs compared with those of the large-bodied common species. The growth disparity between plants in the two gardens was greatest for the rare species. The rare species had a lower tolerance for hot, dry conditions compared with the common species. In the Santa Monica Mountains, the habitat conditions required by the rare species are not as prevalent as those of the common species. • Conclusions : The data are consistent with the view that differences in life histories constrained by trade-offs affect range size. Such differences in rarity become the grist for clade selection at the scale of macroevolution.
doi:10.3732/ajb.1000092 pmid:21730336 fatcat:xp24w37hgrcprfh6pgws2j4ni4