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Abstract Detail

Molecular Ecology and Evolution

Trotta, Lauren [1], Baiser, Benjamin [1], Possley, Jennifer [2], Sessa, Emily Butler [3].

Phylogenetic Signal of Invasion and Rarity in Florida’s Imperiled Pine Rockland Flora.

Community phylogenetic methods can be used to detect the evolutionary signal of functional traits within communities across a range of environmental conditions. Closely related species may share traits that make them well adapted to particular habitats, while distantly related species may have evolved to persist in different niches, allowing for coexistence. In the face of global anthropogenic change these traits will determine whether species become pervasive invaders or increasingly rare. Here, we examine whether endangered and invasive plant taxa are more distantly or more closely related than we would expect by chance in Pine Rockland plant communities. Florida’s Pine Rockland habitat is a model natural system for understanding dispersion of rare and invasive species across a community phylogeny. Pine Rockland habitat is a critically imperiled savannah-like forest found only along the Miami Rock Ridge from Miami to the Florida Keys. Perched at the confluence of North American and Caribbean species' ranges, this habitat hosts a unique community of endemic and endangered plant taxa. However, rapid urban and agricultural development in this area has lead to habitat loss, fragmentation, fire suppression and increased incidence of invasive species. We have constructed a well-resolved, species level community phylogeny of the Pine Rockland plant community based on plastid sequence data. We are using this phylogeny to determine the relative relatedness of invasive and endangered taxa across Pine Rockland communities. Our results indicate that invasive species in the Pine Rockland plant community are less related, while threatened and endangered species tend to be more related than would be expected by chance. Closely related native species have a specialized suite of traits adapted to the Pine Rockland habitat and are likely to be threatened by fire suppression and fragmentation. Meanwhile, these same anthropogenic changes benefit invasive species that have evolved highly competitive, generalist traits. Identifying phylogenetic signal of invasion and rarity may allow us to predict which species are likely to progress from exotic to invasive and from endemic to endangered.

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1 - University of Florida, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, PO Box 110430, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA
2 - Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road , Coral Gables, FL, 33156, USA
3 - University Of Florida, Biology, Box 118525, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA

community phylogeny
Pine Rocklands
plant invasion
Rare Plants.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 40, Molecular Ecology and Evolution
Location: 102/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM
Number: 40005
Abstract ID:537
Candidate for Awards:None

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