Adaptive transgenerational plasticity in the perennial Plantago lanceolata

Latzel, Vít; Janecek, Stepán; Dolezal, Jirí; Klimesová, Jitka; Bossdorf, Oliver (2014). Adaptive transgenerational plasticity in the perennial Plantago lanceolata. Oikos, 123(1), pp. 41-46. Blackwell 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2013.00537.x

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Phenotypes of plants, and thus their ecology and evolution, can be affected by the environmental conditions experienced by their parents, a phenomenon called parental effects or transgenerational plasticity. However, whether such effects are just passive responses or represent a special type of adaptive plasticity remains controversial because of a lack of solid tests of their adaptive significance. Here, we investigated transgenerational effects of different nutrient environments on the productivity, carbon storage and flowering phenology of the perennial plant Plantago lanceolata, and whether these effects are influenced by seasonal variation in the maternal environment. We found that maternal environments significantly affected the offspring phenotype, and that plants consistently produced more biomass and had greater root carbohydrate storage if grown under the same environmental conditions as experienced by their mothers. The observed transgenerational effects were independent of the season in which seeds had matured. We therefore conclude that transgenerational effects on biomass and carbon storage in P. lanceolata are adaptive regardless of the season of seed maturation.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Plant Ecology

UniBE Contributor:

Latzel, Vít and Bossdorf, Oliver


500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)








Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

21 Feb 2014 10:48

Last Modified:

11 Mar 2016 15:14

Publisher DOI:





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