Published October 14, 2020 | Version v1
Dataset Open

Using ecological context to interpret spatiotemporal variation in natural selection

  • 1. Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research
  • 2. Lund University
  • 3. Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
  • 4. University of Portsmouth
  • 5. University of Oslo
  • 6. Norwegian University of Science and Technology


Spatiotemporal variation in natural selection is expected, but difficult to estimate. Pollinator-mediated selection on floral traits provides a good system for understanding and linking variation in selection to differences in ecological context. We studied pollinator-mediated selection in five populations of Dalechampia scandens (Euphorbiaceae) in Costa Rica and Mexico. Using a nonlinear path-analytical approach, we assessed several functional components of selection, and linked variation in pollinator-mediated selection across time and space to variation in pollinator assemblages. After correcting for estimation error, we detected moderate variation in net selection on two of four blossom traits. Both the opportunity for selection and the mean strength of selection decreased with increasing reliability of cross-pollination. Selection for pollinator attraction was consistently positive and stronger on advertisement than reward traits. Selection on traits affecting pollen transfer from the pollinator to the stigmas was strong only when there was a mismatch between pollinator and blossom size under unreliable cross-pollination. These results illustrate how consideration of trait function and ecological context can facilitate both the detection and the causal understanding of spatiotemporal variation in natural selection.


Description of the column names in the datafile:

UBA = upper-bract area, units in mm

GA = gland area, units in mm

GSD = gland-stigma distance, units in mm

GAD = gland-anther distance, units in mm

ASD = anther-stigma distance, units in mm

GW = gland width, units in mm

GHl = gland height measured on the left side of the gland, units in mm

GHr = gland height measured on the right side of the gland, units in mm

UBL = upper bract length, units in mm

UBW = upper bract width, units in mm

pop = population

year = year of sampling

ID = order in which measurements were made

date = date of measurement (yr-mth-day)

patch = patch ID

Blossom = blossom number within the patch

stage = how many male flowers were open during measurement (M1 = one male flower open)

pollenfem = pollen load counted on the stigma during the female phase

polltotal/pollen = pollen load counted on the stigma during the first day of the bisexual phase

pollenmale = pollentot – pollenfem

resin = whether or not (0 or 1) resin has been removed from the gland

seeds_GH = seeds that can be sown

seeds_undeveloped = smaller pale seeds that were collected before fully developed

seeds_pred = seeds with signs of predation

total_seeds = seeds_GH + seeds_undeveloped + seeds_pred



Not all variables mentioned above appear in all datafiles.

For logistical reasons we could not collect seeds at the Puerto Morelos site. 


Funding provided by: Norges Forskningsråd
Crossref Funder Registry ID:
Award Number: 223257



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