Small and relatively isolated populations that occupy fragmented habitat are at risk of local extinction. However, fitness consequences of fragmentation related to mating distance, such as inbreeding depression following increased self- and near-neighbor mating, may not follow standard expectations in species with specialized genetic systems. We investigated the effect of mating distance on progeny fitness in Calylophus serrulatus, a primarily autogamous, permanent translocation heterozygote that is restricted to prairie fragments in the North American tallgrass prairie region. We pollinated flowers by hand in the field with pollen sampled at various distances from the maternal parent within and between three populations in southeastern Minnesota. We raised the progeny in a greenhouse and measured fitness-related characters. Because their genetic system prevents loss of heterozygosity throughout much of the genome, regardless of inbreeding, permanent translocation heterozygotes are not expected to exhibit inbreeding depression. Consistent with this expectation, in no case did progeny of self matings suffer significantly reduced mean fitness compared to progeny from crosses between plants. Crosses between plants in the two closely situated (2 km) populations yielded progeny with fitness intermediate to their parents, but crosses between each of those populations and the more distant (20 km) population yielded progeny with reduced fitness, suggesting outbreeding depression at this largest spatial scale. Similarly, fitness of self-pollinated progeny and progeny from “near” crosses (<2 m) within populations tended to be higher than “mid” (10–25 m) and “far” (>35 m) cross-progeny fitness. Under the current conditions of fragmentation, it seems likely that the distant matings that produce outbreeding depression are rare. It appears that mean fitness in this species is maintained in the context of severe fragmentation of its populations, largely because of its genetic system.
Vol. 60 • No. 1
Vol. 60 • No. 1
permanent translocation heterozygote