Abstract Detail



Ecology

Boehm, Emma [1], Peschel, Anna [2], Shaw, Ruth [3].

Investigating maternal effects in Chamaecrista fasciculata.

Expression of plant phenotypes may differ due to perturbations in environment, and could contribute to persistence during rapid climate changes. Phenotypic plasticity may explain these phenotypic changes as environmental variation acts on the genotype to cause differential trait expression. A specific mode of plasticity is the effect of maternal environment on offspring traits. Maternal effects are genetic contributions of the maternal plant beyond chromosomal inheritance and the environmental influence prevailing over the maternal plant to the phenotype of the offspring, which may confer greater offspring fitness in similar and heterogeneous environments. Native prairies are often subject to spatial obstacles causing habitat fragmentation and impeding dispersal to more favorable conditions. As survival depends on response within their environment, detecting the presence of adaptive maternal effects in prairie plants such as the annual prairie legume, Chamaecrista fasciculata (partridge pea) may elucidate population persistence and inform conservation strategies. We hypothesized that individuals planted in conditions that matched their maternal plant would have higher fitness than offspring from maternal plants in the other plot. Seed from two pedigreed maternal C. fasciculata populations in experimental field plots, one subject to drought through rainout shelters and the other to ambient watering, were planted in both watering treatments in the greenhouse. Drought treatments were imposed via watering on every third day whereas ambient plants were watered every other day. Preliminary results show that maternal effects influence time to germination (p = 0.024) and may confer slight advantages to height (p = 0.048) in drought. Biomass data is forthcoming to more fully evaluate fitness.


1 - University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, 1987 Upper Buford Cir, Falcon Heights, MN, 55108, USA
2 - University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, 1987 Upper Buford Cir, Falcon Heights, MN, 55108, United States
3 - University Of Minnesota, Department Of Ecology, Evolution And Behavior, 1479 Gortner Ave, 140 Gortner, St. Paul, MN, 55108, United States

Keywords:
maternal effects
fitness
Chamaecrista 
drought
phenotypic plasticity .

Presentation Type: Poster
Number: PEC017
Abstract ID:542
Candidate for Awards:Ecological Section Best Undergraduate Presentation Award


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