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Abstract Detail

Molecular Ecology and Evolution

Grasty, Monica [1], Cruzan, Mitch [2], Thompson, Pam [1].

The effect of landscape features on fine-scale seed dispersal in upland prairie plants.

Seed dispersal is a crucial factor in many ecological contexts, especially when considering range expansion, colonization of new habitats, and gene flow among populations. Rare long-distance dispersal events play a disproportionately important role in colonization and gene flow among populations, even at relatively small scales. Unfortunately, the long-distance dispersal events that are largely responsible for range expansion are nearly impossible to directly observe. Therefore, most modern investigations of seed dispersal rely on genetic methods to gain insight on factors contributing to range expansion There is relatively little known about the basic principles surrounding seed dispersal and its effect on gene flow and allelic frequency. Asking questions about how seed dispersal contributes to genetic differences will help expand general understanding of how plants move. My research employs upland prairie plants of the Pacific Northwest (PNW) as model organisms, specifically in a 400x400 meter prairie of the Whetstone Savanna Preserve of Medford, Oregon. This prairie is a mosaic of habitat types, characterized by vernal pools, large Ceanothus bushes, and hummock areas. I hypothesize that on a fine-scale of a few meters, these different landscape features will confer different resistances to gene flow, i.e. isolation by resistance will be a better predictor of gene flow than isolation by distance. There will be lower resistance to gene flow within one habitat than between habitat types. To test this hypothesis, aerial surveys of the prairie were used to generate an aerial orthomosaic and DEM. Using GIS, the landscape features have been classified to create a habitat map to feed into Circuitscape. Circuitscape uses circuit theory to predict gene flow based on resistance values assigned to different landscape features. These resistance values will be generated from genetic distance data between sites separated by distinct habitat types. I will perform a cpDNA capture to be used for Illumina sequencing to generate estimates of gene flow, and in turn, seed dispersal. Plagiobothrys nothofulvus, a PNW prairie native, is specific to the hummock areas of this prairie. Sampling Plagiobothrys sites separated by specific landscape features will reveal how these features influence seed dispersal.

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1 - Portland State University, Biology, 1719 SW 10th Avenue, Portland, OR, 97201, USA
2 - Portland State University, Department Of Biology, PO BOX 751, PORTLAND, OR, 97207, USA

Seed dispersal
population genomics
molecular ecology
fine-scale dispersal.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 40, Molecular Ecology and Evolution
Location: 102/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016
Time: 10:45 AM
Number: 40010
Abstract ID:251
Candidate for Awards:Margaret Menzel Award

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