, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 863-878
Date: 27 Nov 2011

Evolution of the G-matrix in life history traits in the common frog during a recent colonisation of an island system

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Abstract

Studies of genetic correlations between traits that ostensibly channel the path of evolution away from the direction of natural selection require information on key aspects such as ancestral phenotypes, the duration of adaptive evolution, the direction of natural selection, and genetic covariances. In this study we provide such information in a frog population system. We studied adaptation in life history traits to pool drying in frog populations on islands of known age, which have been colonized from a mainland population. The island populations show strong local adaptation in development time and size. We found that the first eigenvector of the variance–covariance matrix (g max) had changed between ancestral mainland populations and newly established island populations. Interestingly, there was no divergence in g max among island populations that differed in their local adaptation in development time and size. Thus, a major change in the genetic covariance of life-history traits occurred in the colonization of the island system, but subsequent local adaptation in development time took place despite the constraints imposed by the genetic covariance structure.