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Abstract Detail

Tropical Biology

Worthy, Samantha [1], Jiménez, Rosa [2], Valencia, Renato [2], Romoleroux, Katya [2], Cruse-Sanders, Jennifer M. [3], Reynolds, Alex [4], Barone, John [5], Perez, Alvaro [2], Burgess, Kevin [6].

Phylogenetic analysis of Andean tree communities along an elevational gradient in Ecuador.

Tropical forests are known for their high levels of biodiversity around the world. About 68% of the known plant species on the planet, can be found in the tropical forests of South America, Africa, and Asia (Rios et al. 2007). One way to grasp the megadiversity in these areas is to focus on tropical forests’ communities along elevational gradients. Recently, interest has been shown in studying tropical plants along elevational gradients with the idea that these areas will likely show large effects caused by global warming (Clark et al. 2015). Tropical elevational studies are also important as these areas contain high biodiversity and endemism, much of which has yet to be explored. The goal of this research is to evaluate the magnitude of DNA barcode diversity among Andean tree species. The two main objectives for this research are to evaluate community phylogenetic structure across an elevational gradient and to correlate phylogenetic analyses with diversity indices. This research is focused in the high altitude Andean forest of Siempre Verde Preserve, Imbabura, Ecuador. Siempre Verde is 3.34 km2 of pristine upper montane cloud forest with an elevation range of 2000 to 3500 meters above sea level. A transect containing 15 plots (5m x 50m) was censused for every tree with a dbh of ≥ 5 cm, for a total of 625 specimens. Of these specimens, 160 are being DNA sequenced in this study. The specimens include 33 families, 47 genera and 71 species. The number of families and species decreased steadily with increasing elevation. Shannon’s and Simpson’s diversity indices also decreased with increasing elevation. Phylogenetic clustering at different hierarchical levels was compared with these diversity trends. This project will help populate DNA barcode libraries that can be used for comparative measures of phylogenetic diversity.

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1 - Columbus State University, Department of Biology, 4225 University Avenue, Columbus, GA, 31907, USA
2 - Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Escuela de Biología, Av. 12 de Octubre #1076 y Roca Apartado 17-01-2184, Quito, Ecuador
3 - Atlanta Botanical Garden, Conservation and Research, 1345 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA, 30309, United States
4 - The Lovett School, 4075 Paces Ferry Road NW, Atlanta, GA, 30327, USA
5 - Columbus State University, Department of Biology, 4225 University Avenue, Columbus, GA, USA
6 - Columbus State University, Biology, 4225 University Ave., Columbus, GA, 31907, USA

Elevational Gradient

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 24, Tropical Biology
Location: 103/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016
Time: 10:15 AM
Number: 24001
Abstract ID:814
Candidate for Awards:None

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