Data and code for: Plasticity takes the lead in local adaptation

  1. Tobias Uller

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Description: Phenotypic responses to a novel or extreme environment are initially plastic, only later to be followed by genetic change. Whether or not environmentally induced phenotypes are sufficiently recurrent and fit to leave a signature in adaptive evolution is debated. Here, we analyse multivariate data from 34 plant reciprocal transplant studies to test: (1) if plasticity is an adaptive source of bias that makes locally adapted populations resemble the environmentally induced phenotypes of ancestors; and (2) if plasticity, standing phenotypic variation and genetic divergence align during local adaptation. Phenotypic variation increased marginally in foreign environments but, as predicted, the direction of ancestral plasticity was generally well aligned with the phenotypic difference between locally adapted populations, making plasticity appear to ‘take the lead’ in adaptive evolution. Plastic responses were sometimes more extreme than the phenotypes of locally adapted plants, which can give the impression that plasticity and evolutionary adaptation oppose each other: however, environmentally induced and locally adapted phenotypes were rarely misaligned. Adaptive fine-tuning of phenotypes – genetic accommodation – did not fall along the main axis of standing phenotypic variation or the direction of plasticity, and local adaptation did not consistently modify the direction or magnitude of plasticity. These results suggest that plasticity is a persistent source of phenotypic bias that shapes how plant populations adapt to environmental change, even when plasticity does not constrain how populations respond to selection.


This respository contains the raw data extracted from the literature, the code for simulating matrices, the code for taking simulated data and deriving means and sampling variance and adding these data together with the meta-data extracted from each study, and also the code for estimating meta-analytic model parameters. Various in between steps of the data are store and has the following structure...


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