Abstract Detail


Allen (Shamsid-Deen), Maya L. [1], Whitney, Kenneth [2].

Is Phenotypic Plasticity Associated with Colonization Success? Comparisons of European Colonizers, North American Colonizers, and Relict Populations of Arabidopsis thaliana.

Major environmental changes, such as climate change or human disturbance, force plants to cope with novel or changing environments: plants either persist in place or migrate elsewhere. Phenotypic plasticity, which is the ability  of a single genotype to produce varying phenotypes in response to heterogeneous environments, is hypothesized to be important for survival in place and colonization by allowing plants to directly respond to their environment. However, many studies have not tested if plastic genotypes  successfully colonize at higher rates than non-plastic genotypes. By capitalizing on the abundant genomic and germplasm resources of the globally distributed species Arabidopsis thaliana, we implemented a full-factorial design to test whether populations demonstrating recent successful colonization are more plastic than relictual populations who have remained in their glacial refugia.  We selected twenty-three populations from A. thaliana’s global range that represent the following groups based on their genomic cluster identities: “European colonizers”, “North American colonizers”, and “relicts”. Using these group classifications, we are testing if plants that have a recent history of colonization (the North American colonizers) are more plastic than those in the native range but have expanded into available habitats (European Colonizers) and those that have remained in their glacial refugia (Relicts). Plasticity was quantified in 13 traits using the F-ratios generated from the following model: trait ~ treatment + Block. We used a linear model to empirically test for significant F-ratio differences between European colonizers, North American colonizers, and relicts. Finally, to assess plasticity’s correlation with fitness our fruit counts, average seed number per fruit, and percent germination measurements were employed. We also identified which group had the greatest levels of plasticity across traits, which traits exhibited greater plasticity, and the maladaptive, neutral, or adaptive status of said plasticity. The results of our study improve our understanding of phenotypic plasticity’s role in plant colonization. This knowledge will enable us to forecast the changes we may see in our flora and ultimately, Earth’s ecosystems.

1 - University Of New Mexico, UNM Biology, Castetter Hall 1480 MSC03-2020, 219 Yale Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87131, United States
2 - University Of New Mexico, Department Of Biology, Castetter Hall, Albuquerque, NM, 87131, United States

Phenotypic plasticity
plant traits

Presentation Type: Poster
Number: PEC003
Abstract ID:444
Candidate for Awards:None

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