Abstract Detail



IAPT Early Career Investigator Program: Life at the Edge

Theiss, Kathryn [1].

Do Extreme Environments Select For Reproductive Assurance?

Predicting how plant species will evolve in the face of global climate change is one of the most important and challenging fields in current botanical research. Climate change affects the timing of plant flowering as well as activity of pollinators, which could lead to increased rates of self-fertilization, decreasing genetic diversity and therefore adaptive potential. Understanding the outcomes of a potential shift in the balance between self-fertilization (or selfing) and outcrossing will be extremely important as we predict how plants will maintain genetic diversity in the face of changes in reproductive strategy.   Plant breeding systems are influenced by competing evolutionary forces at both population and species levels. Multiple biological factors such as life history and pollination syndrome as well as abiotic parameters including ecological conditions and geography play a part in determining levels of inbreeding depression and reproductive assurance. Taxonomic groups that show high levels of variation in these parameters are useful in teasing apart these evolutionary forces, and the evening primroses, Oenothera (Onagraceae) are one of these groups. Previous research demonstrated that self-compatibility was associated with extreme environments, with taxa growing in colder or drier areas having the highest levels of self-compatibility. Recently my students and I have explored this pattern further in the pale evening primrose, Oenothera pallida ssp. pallida. Collecting material from across the entire geographic range of this taxon, we examined the population genetic patterns in Oenothera pallida ssp. pallida using microsatellite markers. We found varying levels of inbreeding that did not always align with the breeding system patterns. I will discuss possible future challenges for this taxon, and other desert taxa, as environmental changes continue to occur.


1 - California State University, Dominguez Hills, 1000 E Victoria Street, Carson, CA, 90747, United States

Keywords:
Oenothera
Breeding System
desert.

Presentation Type: Special Sessions
Number: 0005
Abstract ID:258
Candidate for Awards:None


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