Variation in dispersal traits in a narrow-endemic plant species, Centaurea corymbosa pourret. (Asteraceae)

Miquel Riba, Agnès Mignot, Hélène Fréville, Bruno Colas, Eric Imbert, Denis Vile, Myriam Virevaire, Isabelle Olivieri

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23 Citations (Scopus)


The existence of genetic variability for dispersal is a crucial issue for organisms facing increased habitat fragmentation and climate change. We study the genetic basis and evolutionary potential for diaspore traits related to dispersal in Centaurea corymbosa. Using diaspores collected in natural conditions in four of the six extant populations of this narrow-endemic plant species and diaspores produced in a common garden experiment, we study the variation for pappus and achene sizes, and diaspore mass. Using a sample of achenes from the common garden experiment, we find that the best predictor of terminal velocity is a linear combination of pappus length, achene width, and achene weight. We find significant differences among populations for all traits in both conditions, as well as significant differences among families within population. Although the differences among populations for some traits are not exactly the same in controlled conditions compared to natural conditions, the ranking of populations according to their mean trait values is consistent in both conditions. Our study is therefore one of the first to show a correlation between phenotypic differentiation for dispersal traits in natural conditions vs. controlled conditions. We also show evidence of genetic variation for traits commonly thought to be involved in dispersal ability, suggesting the potential for evolutionary changes following environmental change and management actions. © Springer 2005.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-254
JournalEvolutionary Ecology
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2005


  • Achene
  • Controlled conditions
  • Dispersal
  • Endemic species
  • Genetic variance
  • Morphology
  • Natural populations


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