Volis,S (reprint author),Chinese Acad Sci,Kunming Inst Bot,Key Lab Plant Divers & Biogeog East Asia,Kunming 650204,Peoples R China.
Detecting local adaptation and its spatial scale is one of the most important questions of evolutionary biology. However, recognition of the effect of local selection can be challenging when there is considerable environmental variation across the distance at the whole species range. We analyzed patterns of local adaptation in emmer wheat, Triticum dicoccoides, at two spatial scales, small (inter-population distance less than one km) and large (inter-population distance more than 50 km) using several approaches. Plants originating from four distinct habitats at two geographic scales (cold edge, arid edge and two topographically dissimilar core locations) were reciprocally transplanted and their success over time was measured as 1) lifetime fitness in a year of planting, and 2) population growth four years after planting. In addition, we analyzed molecular (SSR) and quantitative trait variation and calculated the Q(ST)/F-ST ratio. No home advantage was detected at the small spatial scale. At the large spatial scale, home advantage was detected for the core population and the cold edge population in the year of introduction via measuring life-time plant performance. However, superior performance of the arid edge population in its own environment was evident only after several generations via measuring experimental population growth rate through genotyping with SSRs allowing counting the number of plants and seeds per introduced genotype per site. These results highlight the importance of multi-generation surveys of population growth rate in local adaptation testing. Despite predominant self-fertilization of T. dicoccoides and the associated high degree of structuring of genetic variation, the results of the Q(ST) - F-ST comparison were in general agreement with the pattern of local adaptation at the two spatial scales detected by reciprocal transplanting.