Phenotypic plasticity and climatic adaptation in an Atlantic maritime pine breeding population
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Context: Pinus pinaster Ait. is found in the Iberian Peninsula under Mediterranean and Atlantic conditions. Both climates encounter each other in Galicia (NW Spain), where two bioclimatic regions can be differentiated: coastal and inland. A breeding program was launched in the coastal area, with two breeding and deployment areas delimited. Aims: We analyse plasticity patterns across regions in a coastal breeding population to assess the suitability of current breeding areas and how genetic material will likely respond to future climate. Methods: Total height at ages 3 and 8 years was assessed in 16 trials established along the coast and in inner Galicia. Clustering of environments with similar genotypic performance, family sensitivities to climatic factors and stability analyses were performed. Results: Sizeable genetic variation in plasticity was found among families, and crossover genotype-by-environment interactions were detected within and between regions. It was unfeasible to regionalize Galicia into alternative areas of stable genotypic performance. Only the cold regime was found to noticeably underlie the array of phenotypic responses to changing environmental conditions. Conclusion:s Results: suggest that previous delimitation in two breeding areas is pointless and indicate reduced effects of a changing climate towards Mediterranean conditions on decreasing population fitness.