Data from: Pollen limitation and autonomous selfing ability interact to shape variation in outcrossing rate across a species range


Premise of the study: Hermaphroditic plants commonly reproduce through a mixture of selfing and outcrossing. The degree to which outcrossing rates reflect the availability of outcross pollen, genetic differentiation in the ability to autonomously self-fertilize, or both is often unclear. Despite the potential for autonomy and the pollination environment to jointly influence outcrossing, this interaction is rarely studied. Methods: We reviewed literature testing whether the pollination environment or floral traits causing autonomous selfing predict outcrossing rate variation among populations. We also measured outcrossing rates in 23 populations of Campanula americana and examined associations with the pollination environment, autonomy, and their interaction. Key Results: Our review revealed that traits facilitating selfing were often negatively associated with outcrossing rates while most aspects of the pollination environment poorly predicted outcrossing. Populations of C. americana varied from mixed mating to highly outcrossing but variation was unrelated to population size, density, pollen limitation, or autonomous selfing ability. Outcrossing rate was significantly influenced by an interaction between autonomous selfing ability and pollen limitation. In highly autonomous populations, elevated pollen limitation was associated with reduced outcrossing, while there was no relationship for less autonomous populations. Conclusions: Both the ability to self autonomously and pollen limitation interact to shape outcrossing rates in C. americana. This work suggests autonomy affords mating system flexibility, though it is not ubiquitous in all populations across the species range. Interactions between traits influencing autonomy and pollen limitation are likely to explain variation in outcrossing rates among populations of flowering plants.

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