Abstract Detail



Evolution, ecology, development, and conservation of carnivorous plants

Gilbert, Kadeem [1].

Evolution and ecological consequences of diverse traits in tropical pitcher plants (Nepenthes).

The tropical pitcher plants (Nepenthes) contains over 140 described species spanning throughout much of tropical Asia and a few outlying regions including Madagascar and New Caledonia. This genus contains a high level of interspecific diversity, especially in the morphology of their pitcher organs, which vary widely in size and coloration. Additionally, intraspecific morphological diversity is common, with most species possesing dimorphic pitchers and color polymorphism. While the functional roles of a few morphological traits have been demonstrated in a few select species, there remains much to learn about trait evolution in the genus as a whole. Nepenthes may represent a strong example of how diverse biotic and abiotic drivers can shape trait evolution. In addition to the typical physiological challenges all plants face, pitcher plants must engage in varied biotic interactions including both carnivory and symbiosis (mutualistic and parasitic) that may all be mediated by the plants' traits. Thus disentangling the evolutionary forces that have shaped the present morphological diversity in Nepenthes is a complex problem. In this talk, I will discuss work I have done to explore the functional role of variable traits in a polymorphic species, as well as an examination of trait evolution across the genus by utilizing phylogenetic and natural history knowledge of the genus. I will demonstrate how multiple interacting ecological factors may serve as drivers of trait evolution in Nepenthes. In particular I will focus on the evolution of color polymorphism throughout the genus and the potential role of red pigmentation in herbivore defense.


1 - Harvard University, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA, 02138, USA

Keywords:
Carnivorous Plants
pitcher plant
Nepenthes
morphological evolution
Plant-Insect interaction.

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Number:
Abstract ID:221
Candidate for Awards:None


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