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Abstract Detail


Lacey, Mae [1], Cantley, Jason [2], Martine, Chris [2].

Novel taxon in a new national park helps to disentangle species boundaries among spiny Australian bush tomatoes.

Current studies on the spiny solanums (Solanum subg. Leptostemonum) of northern Australia have generated numerous hypotheses related to species delimitation. Particularly unclear species boundaries have been identified among the closely related Solanum watneyi Martine & Frawley, S. eburneum Symon, and a putatively new taxon recently collected in Limmen National Park (S. sp. ‘Limmen’). The three andromonoecious taxa occur in the upper part of the Northern Territory and are members of the Australian “bush tomato clade,” which encompasses around nine closely related taxa. Solanum sp. ‘Limmen’ appears to share many characteristics with S. watneyi and S. eburneum, yet differs conspicuously in vegetative morphology. The new taxon is immediately recognizable by its highly dissected leaves, abundant prickles, and relative lack of tomentum. It is also geographically disjunct from S. watneyi and S. eburneum, with populations so far recorded only in Limmen National Park in the northeastern portion of the Northern Territory on clayey roadsides. This differs from its closely related counterparts, S. watneyi and S. eburneum, which are found in the northwestern expanse of the Northern Territory on well-drained limestone based sandy- or clayey-loamy soil and on gray clay soil, respectively. Field collections in May 2014 and 2016 resulted in procurement of specimens for rigorous morphological comparisons of these three taxa to further investigate fruiting, floral, and vegetative characteristics. Plants grown from field-collected seeds were utilized in both morphological and molecular analyses in conjunction with field observations to determine the unique characters of S. sp. ‘Limmen’. Elucidating the species boundaries among these taxa has the potential to contribute to a body of information germane to conservation efforts as well as ongoing parallel studies of plant-animal interactions and seed dispersal mechanisms within the bush tomato clade. The description of this taxon as a new species represents one of the first new taxa recognized as endemic to Limmen National Park, which was only established in 2012, and highlights the importance of supporting additional biodiversity surveys in the region.

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1 - Bucknell University, Biology, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg, PA, 17837, USA
2 - Bucknell University, Biology, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg, PA, 17837, United States

undergraduate research
new species
species boundaries
national park.

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P, Systematics Section/ASPT Posters
Location: Exhibit Hall/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 1st, 2016
Time: 5:30 PM This poster will be presented at 5:30 pm. The Poster Session runs from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Posters with odd poster numbers are presented at 5:30 pm, and posters with even poster numbers are presented at 6:15 pm.
Number: PSY041
Abstract ID:294
Candidate for Awards:None

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