Trade-offs are crucial in understanding phenotypic evolution of organisms. A main source of trade-offs is conflicting selection, a phenomenon very likely in complex multispecific scenarios in which many potential selective agents coexist. The main goal of this study is to investigate the selective trade-offs arising due to conflicting selection on female-fitness components in Erysimum mediohispanicum. I quantified the selection exerted on 10 plant traits by a mutualistic (pollinators) and antagonistic (gall-makers, predispersal and postdispersal seed predators, mammalian herbivores) multispecific assemblage acting sequentially throughout eight selective episodes of the plant, from floral bud to juvenile production. Variation in lifetime female fitness (quantified as number of juveniles) was related mostly to variation in number of flowers, fruit initiation, and seedling establishment. The direction of selection changed among different selective episode for many traits. Most importantly, conflicting selection was frequent in the study system, with half of the phenotypic traits experiencing opposing selection in different selective episodes. Selection at individual life-cycle stages diverged remarkably from selection based on total fitness. Consequently, the evolution of many traits is determined by the relative importance of each episode of selection, with conflicting selection inevitably yielding evolutionary compromises.
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Vol. 62 • No. 3