Understanding the mechanisms shaping the spatiotemporal distribution of species has long been a central concern of ecology and evolutionary biology. Contemporary patterns of plant assemblies suggest that sexual interactions among species, i.e., reproductive interference, lead to the exclusive distributions of closely related species that share pollinators. However, the fitness consequences and the initial ecological/evolutionary responses to reproductive interference remain unclear in nature, since reproductive isolation or allopatric distribution has already been achieved in the natural community. In Japan, three species of blue-eyed grasses (Sisyrinchium) with incomplete reproductive isolation have recently colonized and occur sympatrically. Two of them are monomorphic with white flowers, whereas the other exhibits heritable color polymorphism (white and purple morphs). Here we investigated the effects of the presence of two monomorphic species on the distribution and reproductive success of color morphs. The frequency and reproductive success of white morphs decreased in area where monomorphic species were abundant, while those of purple morphs did not. The rate of hybridization between species was higher in white morphs than in the purple ones. Resource competition and habitat preference seemed not to contribute to the spatial distribution and reproductive success of two morphs. Our results supported that color-dependent reproductive interference determines the distribution of flower color polymorphism in a habitat, implying ecological sorting promoted by pollinator-mediated reproductive interference. Our study helps us to understand the evolution and spatial structure of flower color in a community.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)