Abstract Detail

Anatomy and Morphology

Mansaray, Janet [1], Lagomarsino, Laura [2].

Plants, Ants, and Curvy Bills: the Morphological Analysis of Mutualisms in Neotropical Bellflowers.

 Symbiotic relationships between plants and animals can have fundamental impacts on floral evolution over macroevolutionary timescales. My research examines the evolution of unique morphological traits associated with mutualistic interactions in the eucentropogonids (Centropogon subgenus Centropogon: Campanulaceae), a subclade of Neotropical bellflowers that is native to low-to-mid elevations of the Neotropics. Species in this clade participate in two types of mutualisms: obligate pollination by the sicklebill hummingbird (Eutoxeres: Trochilidae) or other hermit hummingbirds with long, slightly curved bills, and a facultative interaction with ants that protect against herbivory. The shape of the flower and shape of the sicklebill hummingbird beak necessitate the first interaction. Sicklebill pollinated species are abruptly curved, while generalist hermit pollinated species are slightly curved. The second interaction is associated with the formation of intersepalar nectaries. Corolla curvature and intersepalar nectaries are variable among and within species. Both traits appear to correlate with elevation, especially in the Andes-Amazon transition zone and its phytogeographical extension into Central America: flowers tend to be most curved at mid-elevations where hummingbird diversity is highest, while intersepalar nectaries tend to be most common at low elevations, where ant abundance is highest. Using herbarium specimen, I extracted occurrence data (e.g., elevation) and scored morphological measurements (especially of traits related to pollination biology). The geographical and morphology data were analyzed to test whether there is a correlation among mutualism-associated traits as well as between bioclimatic data and morphology. Quantifying the lability of mutualism-associated traits and understanding the correlation between the different mutualisms, I provide insights into the macroevolution of these mutualisms in the context of Andean uplift. Broadly, this research will provide insight into evolution of mutualisms in flowering plants as well as shed light into the joint roles of abiotic and biotic factors in generating plant diversity in the Andean mountains.

1 - Louisiana State University, Biological Sciences, Baton Rouge, LA, 70803, United States
2 - Louisiana State University, Dept Of Biological Sciences, 103 Life Sciences Building, Baton Rouge, LA, 70803, United States


Presentation Type: Poster Time and date to be determined
Number: PAM001
Abstract ID:516
Candidate for Awards:None

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