Assortative mating by flowering time and its effect on correlated traits in variable environments

Matthew J. Rubin, Kelly M. Schmid, Jannice Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Reproductive timing is a key life-history trait that impacts the pool of available mates, the environment experienced during flowering, and the expression of other traits through genetic covariation. Selection on phenology, and its consequences on other life-history traits, has considerable implications in the context of ongoing climate change and shifting growing seasons. To test this, we grew field-collected seed from the wildflower Mimulus guttatus in a greenhouse to assess the standing genetic variation for flowering time and covariation with other traits. We then created full-sib families through phenological assortative mating and grew offspring in three photoperiod treatments representing seasonal variation in daylength. We find substantial quantitative genetic variation for the onset of flowering time, which covaried with vegetative traits. The assortatively-mated offspring varied in their critical photoperiod by over two hours, so that families differed in their probability of flowering across treatments Allocation to flowering and vegetative growth changed across the daylength treatments, with consistent direction and magnitude of covariation among flowering time and other traits. Our results suggest that future studies of flowering time evolution should consider the joint evolution of correlated traits and shifting seasonal selection to understand how environmental variation influences life histories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-481
Number of pages11
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • Erythranthe guttata
  • Mimulus guttatus
  • assortative mating
  • critical photoperiod
  • flowering time
  • genetic variation
  • phenotypic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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