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Phenotypic variation of Zamia loddigesii Miq. and Z. prasina W.Bull. (Zamiaceae, Cycadales): the effect of environmental heterogeneity

Abstract

The study of morphological variation in heterogeneous environments provides evidence for understanding processes that determine the differences between species and interspecific adaptive strategies. In 14 populations of two closely related cycads from the genus Zamia (Zamia loddigesii and Z. prasina), the phenotypic variation was analyzed based on 17 morphological traits, and this variability was correlated with environmental conditions across the populations. Despite the significant inter-population variation observed in the two species, greater inter-specific differences were observed based on generalized linear models. Individuals of all populations except for the Macuspana (Tabasco) population of Z. prasina were separated into two discrete groups in a multivariate space (non-metric multidimensional scaling). Macuspana plants overlapped marginally with the multivariate space defined by plants in the four Z. loddigesii populations. Remarkably, Macuspana is geographically located at the distribution limits of both species that occur in close proximity expressing traits that resemble either of the two species. The heterogeneous environment seems to play a determining role in the phenotypic expression of both species. The variation found could be related to the local ecological adaptions that tend to maximize the populations adaptation.

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Acknowledgments

This investigation was financed by the CONABIO GE004, CONACyT 346893, and INECOL A. C. 2003/10776 projects. We thank Anwar Medina for his support in the fieldwork, Victor Luna and Carlos Iglesias, and all the technical personnel from the Francisco J. Clavijero Botanic Garden from the Instituto de Ecología, A. C. for all the support with the cycad collections in the garden. F.L. We thank the CONACyT for the funds for the doctorate program studies in the Instituto de Ecología, A.C. We thank Andrew P. Vovides for the review and for editing the English, and two anonymous reviewers for providing helpful comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Francisco Limón.

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Handling editor: Jürg Schönenberger.

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Plants evaluated in Zamia loddigesii by access number from the National Collection of Mexican Cycads, Francisco Javier Clavijero (JBC) Instituto de Ecología A. C. (DOCX 18 kb)

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Online Resource 1. Plants evaluated in Zamia loddigesii by access number from the National Collection of Mexican Cycads, Francisco Javier Clavijero (JBC) Instituto de Ecología A. C.

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Limón, F., González-Astorga, J., Nicolalde-Morejón, F. et al. Phenotypic variation of Zamia loddigesii Miq. and Z. prasina W.Bull. (Zamiaceae, Cycadales): the effect of environmental heterogeneity. Plant Syst Evol 302, 1395–1404 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00606-016-1338-y

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Keywords

  • Co-inertia and multivariate analysis
  • Mexico
  • Phenotype and environmental variation
  • Yucatan peninsula
  • Zamia