Reaction norms of juvenile traits to light intensity in Iris pumila (Iridaceae): a comparison of populations from exposed and shaded habitats
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Reaction norms were determined in two natural populations of the perennial plant Iris pumila from contrasting light conditions at two levels of photosynthetically active radiation (105 and 35 mu mol m(-2)s(-1)). Seedlings developed from free-pollinated seed families sampled individually from 19 and 12 randomly selected clonal genotypes in an exposed and a shaded population respectively, were grown in a growth room using a mixed model nested factorial experimental design and scored for a number of phenological and morphological traits. Ambient light conditions significantly affected all of the juvenile traits measured. In both populations, relatively convergent norms of reactions were revealed for leaf appearance dates, as well as for leaf number, suggesting the importance of these traits for functional adjustment to prevailing light conditions. Reaction norms for morphological traits, however, were largely nonparallel, but although often crossing each other, a significant family-by-treatment interaction in the ANCOVAs performed was not detected for any of the traits measured, indicating a small amount of genetic variation for plasticity in these populations. The extent of plastic response to light availability was determined and expressed as an index that estimates the percentage change in a trait value from a high to a low light level. Evolutionary and ecological implications of the observed plastic variations are also discussed.