Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

DeLeon, Lyanna [1], Mendez, Karina [2], Mabry, Makenzie [3], Gaynor, Michelle [5], Soltis, Pamela [4], Soltis, Douglas [5].

Projected Distributional Shifts Due to Climate Change for Rhexia (Melastomataceae).

The genus Rhexia (Melastomataceae), commonly known as the Meadow Beauty, is exclusively North American with a majority concentration of species in the southeastern part of the coastal plain in the United States. Rhexia plants are of poorly drained, acidic, often sandy soils and are common constituents of wet meadows, pine flat-woods, and roadside ditches. Most are early successional species that tend to inhabit areas that have been distributed by processes such as burning and clearing. Rhexia species are considered unique for having temperate distributions and are commonly found along roadsides and in open habitats in eastern North America, ranging from Nova Scotia to Florida and the West Indies to west and eastern Texas. To test how climate change will affect the habitat suitability of these species we developed ecological niche models (ENMs). We then use our ENMs to characterize the environmental niche of Rhexia species based on abiotic variables (e.g. precipitation, temperature, soil characteristics, elevation) and subsequently predict both the niche suitability of taxa and the major abiotic factors influencing their distributions. Additionally we will project our models to various climate scenarios to understand how the landscape of niche suitability will change in time. Using both current and future models we compare niche suitability between polyploid and diploid species in this genus. ENMs have become increasingly popular tools for predicting the geographic ranges of species and have been important for conservation, for predicting changes in distribution from past or future climatic events, and for investigating patterns of speciation and niche divergence. Our overall goal of this project is to estimate potential geographical shifts in suitable climate and geographical areas at risk of invasion under possible climate change scenarios for eleven Rhexia species.

1 - West Texas A&M University, Life Earth and Environmental Science, 4th Ave, Canyon, TX, 79016, USA
2 - Chabot College, Life Science Department, 25555 Hesperian Blvd, Hayward, CA, 94545, USA
3 - University Of Florida, Florida Museum Of Natural History, 1659 Museum Road, Gainesville, FL, 32611, United States
4 - University Of Florida, Florida Museum Of Natural History, Gainesville, FL, 32611.0, United States
5 - University Of Florida, Dept. of Biology, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA

Ecological niche model
climate change
Meadow Beauty.

Presentation Type: Poster
Number: PCB005
Abstract ID:623
Candidate for Awards:None

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