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Abstract Detail


Ackerfield, Jennifer [1].

Applications of Ecological Niche Modeling in North American Cirsium (“Thistle”) Species Delimitations.

Ecological opportunity, sufficient genetic variation to respond to ecological conditions, and the evolution of novel traits all interact to facilitate and drive ecological speciation in plants. However, the criteria used to recognize species caught in the early stages of postspeciation diversification has been controversial as well as challenging for botanists faced with making taxonomic delimitations. In these instances, while there is often high ecological diversity, morphological differences are typically not pronounced. In particular, North American Cirsium (Compositae: Cardueae), otherwise known as the “thistles”, demonstrate a high rate of ecological diversification often accompanied by little morphological differentiation. In these instances, ecological niche modeling (ENM) offers much potential for use in determining species delimitations. The influence of the ecological niche on speciation is dominated by two main hypotheses: 1) niche conservatism, which predicts that closely related species will occupy similar ecological niches and thus persist in similar environments, and 2) niche divergence, which predicts that sister taxa will occupy different ecological niches and thus persist in different environments. Ecological niche modeling was used to detect niche divergence between potential species as well as provide evidence for recent parapatric speciation driven by ecological divergence. Ecological niche modeling is shown to have utility for detecting ecological speciation in rapidly radiating groups with otherwise little genetic or morphological divergence.

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1 - Colorado State University, Biology, 1878 Campus Delivery, Dept. of Biology, Fort Collins, CO, 80523, USA

ecological niche modeling
Ecological opportunity
Niche conservatism

Presentation Type: Poster This poster will be presented at 6:15 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: P012
Abstract ID:308
Candidate for Awards:Ecological Section Best Graduate Student Poster

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