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Leaf economics guides slow-fast adaptation across the geographic range of A. thaliana

  • Sartori, Kevin F. R.
  • Vasseur, François
  • Violle, Cyrille
  • Baron, Etienne
  • Gerard, Marianne
  • Rowe, Nick
  • Ayala-Garay, Oscar Javier
  • Christophe, Ananda
  • Garcia De Jalon, Laura
  • Masclef, Diane
  • Harscouet, Erwan
  • Del Rey Granado, Maria
  • Chassagneux, Agathe
  • Kazakou, Elena
  • Vile, Denis
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2018
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The slow-fast continuum describes how resource allocation constrains life-history strategies in many organisms. In plants, it is reflected by a trade-off at the leaf level between the rate of carbon assimilation and lifespan, the so-called Leaf Economics Spectrum (LES). However, it is still unclear how the LES is connected to the slow-fast syndrome, and reflects adaptation to climate. Here, we measured growth, morpho-physiological and life-history traits at both leaf and whole-plant levels in 384 natural accessions of Arabidopsis thaliana. We examined the extent to which the LES continuum parallels the slow-fast continuum, and compared trait variation to neutral genetic differentiation between lineages. We found that the LES is tightly linked to variation in whole-plant functioning, relative growth rate and life history. A genetic analysis further suggested that phenotypic differentiation is linked to the evolution of different slow-fast strategies in contrasted climates. Together, our findings shed light on the physiological bases of the slow-fast continuum, and its role for plant adaptation to climate.

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