Abstract Detail



Ecological factors that drive patterns of population genetic structure in plants

Meyer, Elena  [1], Edwards, Christine [2], Oberle, Brad [3].

Patterns of Genetic Structure and Reproductive Allocation After Fire in Polygala lewtonii, a Federally Endangered Florida Endemic Plant .

Disturbance events can have a profound effect on the genetic makeup of a population. Polygala lewtonii is a fire-adapted, federally endangered Florida endemic plant. P. lewtonii exhibits a mixed mating system with three different flower types: belowground cleistogamous (CL) flowers, and both aboveground cleistogamous (CL) and chasmogamous (CH) flowers; such mixed or selfing mating systems have been hypothesized to serve as an adaptation to ecological disturbance such as fire. Previous research showed that P. lewtonii reproduces primarily via selfing or inbreeding and showed very fine-scale patterns of genetic structure. In this study, we investigated how the inbreeding/outcrossing rate and the extent of genetic structuring of a population of P. lewtonii changed in response to a prescribed fire. After the fire, the already-high level of genetic structure increased, which is consistent with other post-fire properties of the population, such as a low level of effective outcrossing between genetically distinct individuals. This suggests that after fire, the seeds that germinate form tightly spatially clustered, genetically homogeneous groups, possibly because of the preferential germination of seeds by below-ground CL flowers, which can only disperse about 1 meter from their parent.  We discuss implications for the persistence and conservation of the species.


1 - 15332 Gull Ct. , Woodbridge , VA, 22191, United States
2 - Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Ave., St. Louis, MO, 63110, United States
3 - New College Of Florida, Natural Sciences, 5800 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota, FL, 34243, United States

Keywords:
Fire
Disturbance
Reproduction
Polygala lewtonii
admixture.

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Number: 0009
Abstract ID:756
Candidate for Awards:None


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