Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Davis, Jennifer [1], Moore, Cheyenne [2], McDonnell, Angela [2], Schuette, Scott [4], Martine, Christopher [5].

What lies in the Dark: Cutting open Baptisia australis fruits in search of seed predators.

Baptisia australis var. australis (L.) R. Br. (Fabaceae) is a rhizomatic perennial wildflower found in riparian, forest-edge, and prairie habitats throughout central and eastern North America. In Pennsylvania, it is classified as state-threatened due to habitat loss. Previous research in other areas of North America has found seed predation to be significantly damaging to Baptisia australis reproductive success, particularly due to lepidopteran and weevil larvae. No seed predation data has been collected for the Allegheny River metapopulation (consisting of the only extant populations in Pennsylvania), therefore our work examining seed predation in the region is novel. Fruits were gathered from six populations along the Allegheny River and preserved in an ethanol solution. The exterior was examined for holes, then the fruits were measured and dissected. Mature and immature seeds were counted, and any abnormalities inside, such as frass or larvae, were documented. Data obtained from dissecting fruits will help determine the level of seed predation that is currently occurring in Allegheny River populations of B. australis var. australis, as well as variation in average fruit length, seed count, and seed size. Our current findings suggest that lepidopteran seed predation is present in Pennsylvania, a previously unknown concern for this rare plant. This research serves two main purposes: to collect qualitative and quantitative data on threats to B. australis var. australis populations in Pennsylvania, and to contribute to future conservation of the species. Understanding the extent of seed predation in the Allegheny River drainage will aid in reassessing the conservation status of B. australis var. australis.

1 - Bucknell University, Biology, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, 17837, United States
2 - Bucknell University, Biology, 1 Dent Drive, 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 - Bucknell University, Bucknell University, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg, PA, 17837, United States

rare plant
natural history
seed predation.

Presentation Type: Poster This poster will be presented at 5:30 pm. The Poster Session runs from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Posters with odd poster numbers are presented at 5:30 pm, and posters with even poster numbers are presented at 6:15 pm.
Number: PCB007
Abstract ID:455
Candidate for Awards:None

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