Abstract Detail



Anatomy and Morphology

White, Elizabeth [1], Gandy, Elizabeth [2], Holst, Bruce [2], Oberle, Brad [3], Sidoti, Brian [1].

Morphological and trichome characters distinguish seedlings of two threatened Florida bromeliads.

Tillandsia utriculata and Tillandsia fasciculata are two species of large epiphytic bromeliads native to South Florida.  Both are threatened by the spread of the invasive herbivorous weevil, Metamasius callizona.  Assessing beetle impacts on species’ population dynamics requires distinguishing T. utriculata and T. fasciculata apart in the field as seedlings. Doing so is difficult because from germination until around 3 years in age, these two species grow to only a few millimeters in diameter and have superficially similar morphology and anatomy. To develop a way to distinguish between these two species in the field, we measured seedlings ranging from 4 months old to 36 months old that had been grown under common greenhouse conditions.  Morphological measurements included longest leaf lengths, angles of leaves, blade width, sheath width and height of the entire plant. Scanning Electron Microscope images of the seedlings’ leaves were also taken to analyze how trichome density/morphology influence seedling coloration.  The lighter green color of T. fasciculata seedlings is associated with trichomes that  have a significantly longer wing diameter than trichomes of T. utriculata seedlings, and is a feature that is visible with a hand lens. Tillandsia utriculata seedlings have a significantly smaller longest leaf length/blade width ratio, implying that T. utriculata seedlings have thinner leaves in this age range in comparison to T. fasciculata.  Determining the identity of the Tillandsia seedlings in the field will facilitate future research into the population dynamics and dispersal of Tillandsia utriculata and Tillandsia fasciculata.


1 - New College of Florida, Natural Sciences, 5800 Bay Shore Blvd, New College of Florida, Sarasota, FL, 34243, United States
2 - Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Botany, 900 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL, 34236
3 - New College Of Florida, Natural Sciences, 5800 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota, FL, 34243, United States

Keywords:
Tillandsia
Bromeliaceae
Trichome
scanning electron microscopy
Conservation.

Presentation Type: Poster
Number: PAM015
Abstract ID:753
Candidate for Awards:None


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