Abstract Detail


Wrobleski, Amy [1], Bliege Bird, Rebecca [2], Bird, Douglas [3], Martine, Chris [4], Williams, Tanisha [5].

Scattered Seeds: how aboriginal community foraging could impact physical and nutritional traits of Solanum diversiflorum.

Traditional foods are a source of nutritional and cultural wellbeing for many indigenous and aboriginal communities around the world. However, as commercial foods displace these traditional ways of eating, communities are faced with increased health concerns such as diabetes, as well as the loss of traditional ecological knowledge. Therefore, the disruption of relationships with traditional foods has a direct impact on the sovereignty and wellbeing of a community. To understand this dynamic, this project examines the species Solanum diversiflorum F. Muell, known colloquially in Australia as Bush Tomato. The fruits of this plant are an important food, harvested along with many other species of Bush Tomato, by aboriginal communities from the Western Desert to the Kimberly.  We seek to understand how human preferences and choices have shaped the evolutionary trajectory of this species. To do this, we are using a combination of greenhouse-grown plants as well as data from plants in the field, collected in June 2022. The traits that we investigated are informed by the traits used to select ripe fruit by aboriginal communities with a focus on the Martu. The Martu are an aboriginal community in the Western Desert and one of the communities that harvests Bush Tomatoes. These values are based on field notes, correspondents, art, and ethnography. Additionally, this project also draws on domestication syndrome and the traits commonly associated with known domesticated fruiting plants. These include, but are not limited to: fruit size, fruit mass, external fruit color, percentage of edible mass, seed count, and sweetness. A combination of morphometrics, image color analysis, and sugar concentration will allow for a more complete picture on how aboriginal harvesting and selection may continue to impact this species.

1 - The Pennsylvania State University, Ecology, 312 Carpenter Building, University Park, PA, 16802, USA
2 - The Pennsylvania State University, Anthropology, 323 A Carpenter Building, University Park, PA, 16802, USA
3 - The Pennsylvania State University, 323 B Carpenter Building, University Park, PA, 16802, USA
4 - Bucknell University, Biology, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg, PA, 17837, USA
5 - Bucknell University, Biology, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg, PA, 17837, United States

Food Sovereignty 
Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Presentation Type: Poster
Number: PET007
Abstract ID:427
Candidate for Awards:None

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