Abstract Detail



Ecology

Barnes, Anais [1], Wickers, Maddie [2], Williams, Tanisha [3], Schuette, Scott [4], Martine, Chris [5].

Conservation of a rare species: taxonomic uncertainty and the potential role of a narrowly-occurring specialist pollinator.

Heuchera alba and H. pubescens (Saxifragaceae) are closely related species of the Appalachian Region of eastern North America that are difficult to distinguish morphologically. Heuchera pubescens is currently understood to occupy a range from Kentucky to Pennsylvania, with the distribution of H. alba restricted to Virginia and West Virginia – plus a recently-recorded extension into Pennsylvania discovered with the help of Twitter. In addition to the discovery of H. alba in Pennsylvania, a pollinator known as the alumroot cellophane bee (Colletes aestivalis) was seen visiting its flowers - the first state record of this bee in over a century. The uncovering of H. alba as well as its specialized pollinator in Pennsylvania has challenged historical perceptions of Heuchera distributions in the state, particularly as this relates to current records for H. pubescens. Through a partnership between Bucknell University and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, substantial fieldwork was completed this past summer, including the collections of H. alba samples and C. aestivalis at multiple sites. It was found that records for H. pubescens in the Susquehanna River Valley can instead be attributed to H. alba. This finding has potential implications for the assessment of the true distribution for both species and the genetic status/health of each species in the local region. Our lab will now use population genomics to generate measures of genetic diversity and population structure, with the goal of updating the conservation status for each study species and to inform future conservation management of H. alba, H. pubescens, or both. We also hope to assess the link between genetic structure among H. alba populations and its reliance on a habitat-specific oligolectic bee.


1 - 5359 Charles Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19124, United States
2 - Bucknell University , C6885, 701 Moore Ave , Lewisburg , PA, 17837, United States
3 - Bucknell University, Biology, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg, PA, 17837, United States
4 - Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, 800 Waterfront Drive, Pittsburgh, PA, 15222.0, United States
5 - Buckell University, Biology, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg, PA, 17837, USA

Keywords:
Heuchera
conservation
Pollination
population genomics
Pennsylvania
morphometrics
Undergraduate Research.

Presentation Type: Poster
Number: P1EC011
Abstract ID:441
Candidate for Awards:None


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