Abstract Detail



Dynamics and Demography of Alpine Islands

Pennington, Lillie [1], Dickman, Erin [2], Sexton, Jay [1].

Survival in a Drier World: A Study of Rapid Adaptation in Response to Drought in the Sierra Nevada Endemic Forb, Erythranthe laciniata.

Increased climate variability is a looming threat to plant populations—plants must respond with plasticity, adaptive evolution, or face extinction. The drought in California from 2012-2016 was historic and exceptional—the driest event in roughly 1,200 years—and gives an unprecedented opportunity to examine whether plants can rapidly adapt to changing climatic conditions. Seed collections of Erythranthe laciniata dating back a decade provided the material for a resurrection study: by breeding seeds from before and during the drought, we can determine if plants experienced a rapid adaptive response to drought. In an initial breeding generation, it was found that time to seedling emergence differed between drought and pre-drought generations, and days to first flower differed significantly by elevation, suggesting local adaptation to climate across the range. In a second breeding generation, I grew descendants from the initial growout in common conditions. I measured the same traits to verify differences between drought and pre-drought generations. Drought plants again emerged earlier than pre-drought, and days to first flower differed across the species’ range. These results provide evidence of a rapid, genetic response to drought, and provide insight into the ability of natural populations to respond to rapid climate change.


1 - UC Merced, 5200 N Lake Rd, MERCED, CA, 95343, United States
2 - Yosemite National Park, PO box 700, El Portal, CA, 95318, United States

Keywords:
monkeyflower
adaptation
climate change
erythranthe laciniata.

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Number: 0006
Abstract ID:441
Candidate for Awards:None


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