Abstract Detail

Biodiversity at the brink: leveraging herbaria for conservation!

Molano-Flores, Brenda [1], Feist, Mary Ann [2], Marcum, Paul [3], Johnson, Sara [4].

Assessing the reproductive patterns of rare plants from herbarium specimens to inform their management and conservation.

In the US over 1600 species are listed as threatened or endangered at the federal level and over half of these species are plants. In addition, each state has a list of rare plant species. For a large proportion of these species, many aspects of their biology and ecology are unknown or not fully understood. Any data sources, such as herbarium specimens, that can provide this information and reduce such knowledge gaps can be used to assist in the conservation and management of these rare plants. Already herbarium specimens have provided invaluable data for the conservation of rare plants, from documenting their existence, mapping their distributions, and documenting their responses to anthropogenic change. In addition, herbarium specimens can provide a wealth of information about the reproductive biology of these rare plants. In this presentation, we will explore examples of reproductive ecology research questions for rare plants that have been posed in the literature and could have been answered by examining herbarium specimens. We will also explore how herbarium specimens can provide preliminary data associated with the reproductive biology and patterns of rare plants. In particular, we will focus on two rare plants: Synthyris bullii and Physaria thamnophila. Synthyris bullii (aka, Besseya bullii, kittentails) is an endemic Midwestern species listed as state threatened or endangered across its range. Physaria thamnophila (Zapata bladderpod) is a federally endangered species endemic to Texas. In the case of Synthyris bullii, we will use published papers to demonstrate how herbarium specimens could have answered the research questions posed by these papers. For Physaria thamnophila, we will explore how herbarium specimens can provide preliminary reproductive output data in a non-destructive way. Lastly, we will explore how herbarium specimens can assist in the determination of rare plant breeding systems using proxies such as pollen-ovule ratios. By allowing us to fill gaps in our knowledge of their reproductive biology and ecology, herbarium specimens can be a valuable tool for rare plant conservation on a budget.

1 - University Of Illinois, Illinois Natural History Survey, 1816 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL, 61820, United States
2 - University Of Wisconsin, Wisconsin State Herbarium, 430 Lincoln Dr., Madison, WI, 53706, United States
3 - Illinois Natural History Survey/Prairie Research Institute/University , 1816 S. Oak Street, Champaign, IL, 61820, United States
4 - Illinois Natural History Survey, 1816 S. Oak St, MC 652, Champaign, IL, 61820, United States

rare plants
reproductive biology.

Presentation Type: Special Sessions
Number: SS003
Abstract ID:453
Candidate for Awards:None

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