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Abstract Detail

Novel Approaches to Plant Evolution from Paleontological, Physiological, and Developmental Perspectives

Wilczek, Amity [1].

A plant's-eye view of climate: the timing of flowering and lagging adaptation in response to warming.

How do species adapt to a broad range of climates, and how do they respond to climatic shifts? Will plant species be able to “keep up” in our current era of rapid climate change? Studies in the model Arabidopsis thaliana have brought together genetic, developmental, ecological and evolutionary evidence to address these pressing questions. The basis of plants' tolerance to novel combinations of environmental factors (such as those predicted to occur in response to human-induced climate change) will depend on the manner in which species respond phenologically to environmental cues, individually and in combination. Understanding the basis of observed changes (or stasis) in phenological timing, and predicting future responses, therefore requires an understanding of the mechanisms underlying phenological response. Mutant plants “blinded” to particular environmental stimuli can help us uncover how plants integrate seasonal cues in controlled and natural environments; a remarkably simple, genetically-informed model of development successfully predicted the flowering behavior of A. thaliana plants in a range of natural environments spanning the species' broad native climate range. Such mechanistic models can then be used to explore phenology and life history variation under a wide range of predicted and novel climates. The geographic distribution of genetic variation that contributes to climate adaptation will be critical to a plants species' ability to persist and migrate as climates shift. Measurements of real-time fitness from a panel of A. thaliana populations grown in a set of common garden experiments uncovered complicated patterns of local adaptation, as well as evidence for genetic trade-offs among locations in the basis of adaptation to climate. Interestingly, populations originating in sites historically warmer than the planting site had higher average relative fitness than local genotypes in every site, especially toward the northern range limit of the species. This result suggests that local adaptive optima have shifted rapidly with recent warming across the species’ native range. Studies in contemporary plants have linked species responsiveness to year-to-year climate variation with long-term persistence versus local extinction. Climates have not remained constant throughout the past, however, and previous climate-related shifts in species’ ranges and persistence may provide additional evidence that will enhance our understanding of plants’ ability to tolerate, adapt to, and migrate with changing climates.

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1 - Deep Springs College, Big Pine, CA, 93513, United States

life history
local adaptation
Plant-climate interactions.

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Session: SY11, Novel approaches to plant evolution from paleontological, physiological, and developmental perspectives
Location: 101/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016
Time: 2:45 PM
Number: SY11004
Abstract ID:918
Candidate for Awards:None

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