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A Quantitative Survey of Local Adaptation and Fitness Trade‐Offs

National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, Durham, North Carolina 27705

The long history of reciprocal transplant studies testing the hypothesis of local adaptation has shown that populations are often adapted to their local environments. Yet many studies have not demonstrated local adaptation, suggesting that sometimes native populations are no better adapted than are genotypes from foreign environments. Local adaptation may also lead to trade‐offs, in which adaptation to one environment comes at a cost of adaptation to another environment. I conducted a survey of published studies of local adaptation to quantify its frequency and magnitude and the costs associated with local adaptation. I also quantified the relationship between local adaptation and environmental differences and the relationship between local adaptation and phenotypic divergence. The overall frequency of local adaptation was 0.71, and the magnitude of the native population advantage in relative fitness was 45%. Divergence between home site environments was positively associated with the magnitude of local adaptation, but phenotypic divergence was not. I found a small negative correlation between a population’s relative fitness in its native environment and its fitness in a foreign environment, indicating weak trade‐offs associated with local adaptation. These results suggest that populations are often locally adapted but stochastic processes such as genetic drift may limit the efficacy of divergent selection.