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Abstract Detail



Reproductive Processes

Swift, Joel [1], Smith, Stacy [2], Menges, Eric [2], Bassuner, Burgund [1], Edwards, Christine [1].

Analysis of mating system and genetic structure in the endangered, amphicarpic plant, Lewton’s polygala (Polygala lewtonii).

Polygala lewtonii is a federally endangered, amphicarpic plant with a mixed mating system and three types of flowers: 1) aboveground, chasmogamous flowers (i.e., open-pollinated; CH), 2) aboveground, cleistogamous flowers (i.e., closed, selfing; CL) and 3) CL flowers on belowground stems (amphicarpy). Aboveground seeds are ant-dispersed, whereas belowground seeds are spaced across the length of the rhizome. Here, we collected individuals of P. lewtonii at both range-wide and fine geographic scales and genotyped them at 11 microsatellite loci. We analyzed patterns of genetic diversity and structure to understand: 1) the predominant mating system (selfing or outcrossing), 2) the movement of pollen and seeds across the landscape, and 3) the optimal strategy to conserve the full range of genetic variation. Polygala lewtonii reproduces predominantly by selfing or bi-parental inbreeding, but reproduction occurred through each of the three flower types. Some individuals produced by selfing/inbreeding were tightly clustered spatially, and were likely produced either by belowground flowers or by aboveground flowers with limited seed dispersal. Other selfed/inbred individuals were spatially separated (maximum of 15m), and were likely produced by aboveground flowers followed by seed dispersal by ants. Fine-scale patterns of genetic structure indicate that some gene flow is occurring among aboveground CH flowers but both pollen and outcrossed seeds are moving limited distances (maximum of 0.5 km). Because genetic variation is structured at a fine spatial scale, protecting many populations is necessary to fully conserve the genetic variation in P. lewtonii. Conservation seed banking, if accompanied by research on seed germination requirements, may also contribute to the effective protection of genetic variation in P. lewtonii.


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1 - Missouri Botanical Garden, Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development, 4344 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis, MO, 63110, USA
2 - Archbold Biological Station, Plant Ecology Program, 123 Main Dr., Venus, FL, 33960, USA

Keywords:
Amphicarpy
conservation
Genetic structure
mating system
Ant Dispersal
Self-fertilization
Microsatellite.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Number: 30012
Abstract ID:78
Candidate for Awards:None


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