Multivariate adaptation but no increase in competitive ability in invasive Geranium carolinianum L. (Geraniaceae).
Adaptive evolution can affect the successful establishment of invasive species, but changes in selective pressures, loss of genetic variation in relevant traits, and/or altered trait correlations can make adaptation difficult to predict. We used a common-garden experiment to assess trait correlations and patterns of adaptation in the invasive plant, Geranium carolinianum, sampled across 20 populations in its native (United States) and invasive (China) ranges. We used multivariate QST - FST tests to determine if phenotypic differences between countries are attributable to adaptation. We also compared population-level variation within each country to assess whether local adaptation resulted in similar multivariate phenotypes in the United States and China. Between countries, most phenotypic differences are indistinguishable from genetic drift, although we detected a signature of adaptation to the colder, drier winters in China. There was no evidence for increases in invasive traits in China. Within countries, strong multivariate adaptation appears to be driven by latitudinal climatic variation in the United States, but not in China. Additionally, adaptive trait combinations as well as their underlying correlations differ between the two countries, indicating that adaptation in invasive populations does not parallel patterns in native populations due to differences in selection pressures, genetic constraints, or both.