Do floral traits and the selfing capacity of Mimulus guttatus plastically respond to experimental temperature changes ?
2020-01, Razanajatovo, Mialy, Fischer, Liliana, van Kleunen, Mark
Climate change can negatively impact plant–pollinator interactions, and reduce outcross pollination. For reproductive assurance, an increased capacity for autonomous selfing should benefit the persistence of plants under new temperature conditions. Plastic responses of the autonomous selfing capacity to climate change may occur indirectly due to changes in floral traits associated with this capacity. We tested whether the mixed mating plant Mimulus guttatus is capable of plastic changes in floral traits favoring autonomous selfing in response to temperature changes. In seven growth chambers, we grew M. guttatus originating from a large range of latitudes (from 37.89° N to 49.95° N) and thus home temperatures in North America, and experimentally assessed the (autonomous) selfing and outcrossing capacities of the plants. With an increase in the difference between the overall mean daytime and nighttime experimental test temperature and home temperature, flower length and width decreased. The plastic response in flower size suggests that plants may be more successful at autonomous selfing. However, we did not find direct evidence that M. guttatus responded to increased temperature by an increased autonomous selfing capacity. With an increase in temperature difference, the odds of seed production, number of seeds, and individual seed mass decreased. Our results indicate that global warming and the associated increase in extreme temperature events may be detrimental to the reproduction and thus persistence of some plants.