Evolutionary history and ecology shape the diversity and abundance of phytochemical arsenals across monkeyflowers

Liza M. Holeski, Ken Keefover-Ring, James M. Sobel, Nicholas J. Kooyers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We examine the extent to which phylogenetic effects and ecology are associated with macroevolutionary patterns of phytochemical defence production across the Mimulus phylogeny. We grew plants from 21 species representing the five major sections of the Mimulus phylogeny in a common garden to assess how the arsenals (NMDS groupings) and abundances (concentrations) of a phytochemical defence, phenylpropanoid glycosides (PPGs), vary across the phylogeny. Very few PPGs are widespread across the genus, but many are common to multiple sections of the genus. Phytochemical arsenals cluster among sections in an NMDS and are not associated with total concentration of PPGs. There is a strong phylogenetic signal for phytochemical arsenal composition across the Mimulus genus, whereas ecological variables such as growing season length, latitude, and elevation do not significantly influence arsenal. In contrast, there is little phylogenetic signal for total PPG concentration, and this trait is significantly influenced by several ecological factors. Phytochemical arsenals and abundances are influenced by plant life history form. Both phylogenetic effects and ecology are related to phytochemical patterns across species, albeit in different ways. The independence of phytochemical defence concentrations from arsenal compositions indicates that these aspects of defence may continue to evolve independently of one another.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-583
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Mimulus
  • defence
  • macroevolution
  • monkeyflower
  • phylogenetic comparative analysis
  • phytochemical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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