Inbreeding effects in a mixed-mating vine: Effects of mating history, pollen competition and stress on the cost of inbreeding
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionAoB Plants. 2015, 7 . 10.1093/aobpla/plv133
Inbreeding depression is assumed to be a central factor contributing to the stability of plant mating systems. Predicting the fitness consequence of inbreeding in natural populations is complicated, however, because it may be affected by the mating histories of populations generating variation in the amount of purging of deleterious alleles. Furthermore, the level of inbreeding depression may depend on environmental conditions and the intensity of pollen competition. In a greenhouse experiment comparing four populations of the neotropical vine Dalechampia scandens (Euphorbiaceae), we tested whether inbreeding depression for early-life fitness depended on the inferred mating history of each population, as indicated by genetically determined differences in herkogamy and autofertility rates. We also tested whether the intensity of pollen competition and the level of stress encountered by the seeds and seedlings affected the amount of inbreeding depression observed. Herkogamy was a good predictor of autofertility in each population. However, we found only limited evidence for inbreeding depression in any population, and inbreeding depression varied independently of the intensity of pollen competition and amount of stress encountered by the seeds and seedlings. Thus, the population's rate of autofertility did not predict the amount of inbreeding depression. Overall, we found no evidence supporting the expectations that more inbred populations experience less inbreeding depression, and that pollen competition reduces the cost of inbreeding. These results suggest that additional factors may be responsible for the maintenance of the mixed mating systems of D. scandens populations.