The word adaptation and its derivatives are reviewed as well as the characteristics of environmental marginality. Plant traits are discussed in the light of their adaptive significance, specially pointing at their phenotypic expression under stress. Variation in marginal plant populations is discussed on the basis of accumulated knowledge on quantitative traits and isozymes. The common opinion that marginal populations are genetically depauperated is questioned on the basis of observations that show high degrees of environmental heterogeneity. This in turn would cause a disruptive mode of natural selection close to the species margin. Species' modes of adaptation and mating systems are briefly discussed and finally natural selection for stability is suggested to be of significance in marginal areas, a fact that should be duly recognized in modern plant breeding programmes aiming at maximum stability (sustainability) but not necessarily maximum yield.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Alden, J. & C. Loopstra, 1987. Genetic diversity and population structure ofPicea glauca on an altitudinal gradient in interior Alaska. Can. J. For. Res. 17: 1519–1526.
Carson, H.L., 1955. The genetic characteristics of marginal populations ofDrosophila. Cold Spring Harbor Symp. Quant. Biol. 20: 276–287.
Dobzhansky, Th., 1968. In: Th. Dobzhansky, M.K. Hecht & W.R. Steere (Eds) On Some Fundamental Concepts of Darwinian Biology, Evolutionary Biology Vol. 2, North Holland, Amsterdam.
Eiche, V. & A. Gustafsson, 1970. In: M.K. Hecht & W.C. Steere (Eds) Population research in the Scandinavian Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) Essays in Evolution and Genetics in Honor of Theodosius Dobzhansky, North Holland, Amsterdam.
Hamrick, J.L. & M.J.W. Godt, 1990. In: A.H.D. Brown, M.T. Clegg, A.L. Kahler & B.S. Weir (Eds) Allozyme diversity in plant species. Plant Population Genetics, Breeding and Genetic Resources, Sinauer Assoc. Inc.
Jepsen, G., G.G. Simpson & E. Mayr, 1949. Genetics, Paleontology and Evolution, Princeton Univ. Press.
Levins, R., 1962. Theory of fitness in a heterogeneous environment. I. The fitness set and adaptive function. Am. Nat. 96: 361–373.
Levins, R., 1963. Theory of fitness in a heterogeneous environment. II. Developmental flexibility and niche selection. Am. Nat. 97: 75–90.
Levins, R., 1964. Theory of fitness in a heterogeneous environment. IV. The adaptive significance of gene flow. Evolution 18: 635–638.
Levins, R., 1968. Evolution in Changing Environments. Princeton Univ. Press.
MacArthur, R.H. & R. Levins, 1967. The limiting similarity, convergence and divergence of coexisting species. Am. Nat. 101: 377–385.
Simpson, G.G., 1953. The Major Features of Evolution, Columbia Univ. Press.
Stern, K. & L. Roche, 1974. Genetics of Forest Ecosystems. Springer Verl.
Tigerstedt, P.M.A., 1973. Studies of isozyme variation in marginal and central populations ofPicea abies. Hereditas 75: 47–60.
Tigerstedt, P.M.A., 1979. Genetic adaptation of plants in the subarctic environment. Holarctic Ecology 2: 264–268.
Tremblay, M. & J-P Simon, 1989. Genetic structure of marginal populations of white spruce (Picea glauca) at its northern limit of distribution in Nouveau-Quebec. Can. J. For. Res. 19: 1371–1379.
About this article
Cite this article
Tigerstedt, P.M.A. Adaptation, variation and selection in marginal areas. Euphytica 77, 171–174 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02262628
- Natural Selection
- Mating System
- Plant Population
- Environmental Heterogeneity
- Phenotypic Expression