Abstract Detail


Zeller , Zachary Conrad [1], Natalie, Triester [2], Krieg, Christopher [1], McCulloh, Kate [2], Sessa, Emily [3].

Environmental drivers of intra-specific trait variation and adaptation in the fern Polystichum imbricans.

Species’ functional traits provide important insights into ecological and evolutionary processes, yet the impact of intra-specific trait variation on species distributions has received relatively little attention. Intra-specific trait data remain scarce for many plant groups, hindering inference about the major environmental drivers of plant traits. We address this gap and examine trait variation and co-variation in a fern species, Polystichum imbricans, that is distributed throughout most of the western U.S. Specifically, we examine traits related to water use and regulation such as leaf vein density, stomatal size and density, and mean hydraulic conductance of xylem at several locations across the distribution of this species (i.e., from several populations across Washington, Oregon, and California). We tested for major climate drivers of trait variation using environmental variables such as potential evapotranspiration, aridity, soil moisture, and mean annual temperature. Trait-environment analyses reveal that trait integration varies across environments and that optimum phenotypes shift along gradients of soil and atmospheric water availability. On-going analyses will further elucidate the environmental drivers and adaptive significance of trait variation in ferns.

1 - University of Florida, Department of Biology, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA
2 - University of Wisconsin, Department of Botany, Madison, WI, 53706, USA
3 - University Of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32611, United States

functional traits.

Presentation Type: Poster
Number: PPT005
Abstract ID:643
Candidate for Awards:None

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