3 years ago

Leaf Form Evolution in Viburnum Parallels Variation within Individual Plants.

Erika J Edwards, Michael J Donoghue, Samuel B Schmerler, Elizabeth L Spriggs
Few studies have critically evaluated how morphological variation within individual organisms corresponds to variation within and among species. Subindividual variation in plants facilitates such studies because their indeterminate modular growth generates multiple serially homologous structures along growing axes. Focusing on leaf form, we evaluate how subindividual trait variation relates to leaf evolution across Viburnum, a clade of woody angiosperms. In Viburnum we infer multiple independent origins of wide/lobed leaves with toothed margins from ancestors with elliptical, smooth-margined leaves. We document leaf variation along the branches of individual plants of 28 species and among populations across the wide range of Viburnum dentatum. We conclude that when novel leaf forms evolved in Viburnum, they were intercalated at the beginning of the seasonal leaf sequence, which then generated a repeated spectrum of leaf forms along each branch (seasonal heteroblasty). We hypothesize that the existence of such a spectrum then facilitated additional evolutionary shifts, including reversions to more ancestral forms. We argue that the recurrent production of alternative phenotypes provides opportunities to canalize the production of particular forms and that this phenomenon has played an important role in generating macroscale patterns.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1086/695337

DOI: 10.1086/695337

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