Selection patterns on early‐life phenotypic traits in Pinus sylvestris are associated with precipitation and temperature along a climatic gradient in Europe uri icon

abstract

  • Seed mass, emergence time and early growth rate have an adaptive role in the early stages of P. sylvestris and climate strongly influences the patterns of selection on these fitness-related traits.
  • Significant phenotypic plasticity and among-population genetic variation were found for all measured phenotypic traits. Heat and drought negatively affected fitness in the southern sites, but heavy rainfalls also decreased early survival in middle latitudes. Climate-driven directional selection was found for higher seed mass and earlier emergence time, while the form of selection on seedling growth rates differed among sites and populations. Evidence of adaptive and maladaptive phenotypic plasticity was found for emergence time and early growth rate, respectively.
  • Understanding the dynamics of selection is key to predicting the response of tree species to new environmental conditions in the current context of climate change. However, selection patterns acting on early recruitment stages and their climatic drivers remain largely unknown in most tree species, despite being a critical period of their life cycle.
  • We measured phenotypic selection on Pinus sylvestris seed mass, emergence time and early growth rate over 2 yr in four common garden experiments established along the latitudinal gradient of the species in Europe.

publication date

  • 2021
  • 2020