Is hybridization driving the evolution of climatic niche in Alyssum montanum

Nils Arrigo, Marylaure De La Harpe, Glenn Litsios, Judita Zozomová-Lihová, Stanislav Španiel, Karol Marhold, Michael S. Barker, Nadir Alvarez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


PREMISE OF THE STUDY: After decades of interest, the contribution of hybridization to ecological diversifi cation remains unclear. Hybridization is a potent source of novelty, but nascent hybrid lineages must overcome reproductive and ecological competition from their parental species. Here, we assess whether hybrid speciation is advantageous over alternative modes of speciation, by comparing the geographical and ecological ranges and climatic niche evolutionary rates of stabilized allopolyploid vs. autopolyploids in the Alyssum montanum species complex. M ETHODS: We combined an extensive review of studies addressing the systematics and genetic diversity of A. montanum s.l., with fl ow cytometry and cloning of nuclear markers, to establish the ploidy level and putative hybrid nature of 205 populations. The respective geographic distribution and climatic niche evolution dynamics of the allo- and autopolyploids were investigated using multivariate analyses and comparative phylogenetic approaches. KEY RESULTS: As expected by theory, allopolyploids occur mainly along contact zones and are generally spatially overlapping with their diploid counterparts. However, they demonstrate higher rates of niche evolution and expand into diff erent climatic conditions than those of their diploid congeners. In contrast, autopolyploids show lower rates of niche evolution, occupy ecological niches similar to their ancestors and are restricted to less competitive and peripheral geographic areas. CONCLUSIONS: Hybridization thus seems advantageous by promoting ecological niche evolution and more readily allowing escape from competitive exclusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1348-1357
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of botany
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2016


  • Allopolyploidy
  • Autopolyploidy
  • Brassicaceae
  • Competition
  • Diversifi cation
  • Ecological novelty
  • Local adaptation
  • Minority cytotype disadvantage
  • Transgressive segregation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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