Multiyear study of multivariate linear and nonlinear phenotypic selection on floral traits of hummingbird-pollinated silene virginica

Academic Article


  • Pollination syndromes suggest that convergent evolution of floral traits and trait combinations reflects similar selection pressures. Accordingly, a pattern of selection on floral traits is expected to be consistent with increasing the attraction and pollen transfer of the important pollinator. We measured individual variation in six floral traits and yearly and lifetime total plant seed and fruit production of 758 plants across nine years of study in natural populations of Ruby-Throated Hummingbird-pollinated Silene virginica. The type, strength, and direction of selection gradients were observed by year, and for two cohorts selection was estimated through lifetime maternal fitness. Positive directional selection was detected on floral display height in all years of study and stigma exsertion in all years but one. Significant quadratic and correlational selection gradients were rare. However, a canonical analysis of the gamma matrix indicated nonlinear selection was common; if significant curvature was detected it was convex with one exception. Our analyses demonstrated selection favored trait combinations and the integration of floral features of attraction and pollen transfer efficiency that were consistent with the hummingbird pollination syndrome. © 2009 The Society for the Study of Evolution.
  • Published In

  • Evolution  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Reynolds RJ; Dudash MR; Fenster CB
  • Start Page

  • 358
  • End Page

  • 369
  • Volume

  • 64
  • Issue

  • 2