Maintenance of sexually dimorphic preadult traits in Marchantia inflexa (Marchantiacae)

Linda Fuselier, Nicholas McLetchie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Marchantia inflexa, a dioecious thallose liverwort, is sexually dimorphic in clonal expansion traits. We used selection analyses to measure the magnitude and direction of selection on clonal fitness to uncover possible mechanisms for the maintenance of preadult sexually dimorphic characters. We planted replicates of genotypes of female and male M. inflexa in two light environments in a greenhouse and measured morphological and phenological characters associated with growth and asexual reproduction. Timing to onset of asexual reproduction and plant size early in development were under sex-specific selection in a low light environment. Additionally, females exhibited a sex-specific cost of plasticity in the timing of their onset of asexual reproduction in high light. Selection on asexual fitness tended to shift traits toward monomorphism rather than sexual dimorphism, whereas the expressed phenotype of females was congruent with patterns of selection acting on sexual fitness. We detected negative trade-offs between asexual and sexual fitness components in females in one fight environment. Opposing selective forces acting on asexual and sexual fitness components may explain how sexual dimorphisms persist in the face of selection for monomorphism in the preadult phase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)592-601
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002


  • Asexual reproduction
  • Bryophytes
  • Marchantia inflexa
  • Marchantiacae
  • Selection
  • Sexual dimorphism
  • Trade-offs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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