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  1. Abstract

    As the global climate crisis continues, predictions concerning how wild populations will respond to changing climate conditions are informed by an understanding of how populations have responded and/or adapted to climate variables in the past. Changes in the local biotic and abiotic environment can drive differences in phenology, physiology, morphology and demography between populations leading to local adaptation, yet the molecular basis of adaptive evolution in wild non‐model organisms is poorly understood. We leverage comparisons between two lineages ofCalochortus venustusoccurring along parallel transects that allow us to identify loci under selection and measure clinal variation in allele frequencies as evidence of population‐specific responses to selection along climatic gradients. We identify targets of selection by distinguishing loci that are outliers to population structure and by using genotype–environment associations across transects to detect loci under selection from each of nine climatic variables. Despite gene flow between individuals of different floral phenotypes and between populations, we find evidence of ecological specialization at the molecular level, including genes associated with key plant functions linked to plant adaptation to California's Mediterranean climate. Single‐nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) present in both transects show similar trends in allelic similarity across latitudes indicating parallel adaptation to northern climates. Comparisons between eastern and western populations across latitudes indicate divergent genetic evolution between transects, suggesting local adaptation to either coastal or inland habitats. Our study is among the first to show repeated allelic variation across climatic clines in a non‐model organism.

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  2. Abstract Aim

    Natural selection typically results in the homogenization of reproductive traits, reducing natural variation within populations; thus, highly polymorphic species present unresolved questions regarding the mechanisms that shape and maintain gene flow given a diversity of phenotypes. We used an integrative framework to characterize phenotypic diversity and assess how evolutionary history and population genetics affect the highly polymorphic nature of a California endemic lily.


    California, United States.


    Butterfly mariposa lily,Calochortus venustus(Liliaceae).


    We summarized phenotypic diversity at both metapopulation and subpopulation scales to explore spatial phenotypic distributions. We sampled 174 individuals across the species range representing multiple samples for each population and each phenotype. We used restriction‐site‐associated DNA sequencing (RAD‐Seq) to detect population clusters, gene flow between phenotypes and between populations, infer haplotype networks, and reconstruct ancestral range evolution to infer historical migration and range expansion.


    Polymorphic floral traits within the species such as petal pigmentation and distal spots are geographically structured, and inferred evolutionary history is consistent with a ring species pattern involving a complex of populations having experienced sequential change in genetic and phenotypic variation from the founding population. Populations remain interconnected yet have differentiated from each other along a bifurcating south‐to‐north range expansion, consequently indicating parallel evolution towards the white morphotype in the northern range. Thus, our phylogeographical analyses reveal morphological convergence with population genetic cohesion irrespective of phenotypic diversity.

    Main conclusions

    Phenotypic variation in the highly polymorphicCalochortus venustusis not due to genetic differentiation between phenotypes; rather there is genetic cohesion within six geographically defined populations, some of which maintain a high level of within‐population phenotypic diversity. Our results demonstrate that analyses of polymorphic taxa greatly benefit from disentangling phenotype from genotype at various spatial scales. We discuss results in light of ring species concepts and the need to determine the adaptive significance of the patterns we report.

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