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Abstract Detail

Symbioses: Plant, Animal, and Microbe Interactions

Stephens, Jessica [1], Determann, Ron [2], Malmberg, Russell [3].

The Evolution of Plant Carnivory: Insights into Morphological Diversification and Prey Partitioning in the Carnivorous Pitcher Plant Genus Sarracenia.

Ecological interactions among closely related species are thought to be significant drivers of adaptive evolution and diversification of species. How these interactions have shaped rates and patterns of speciation and morphological divergence is therefore of interest in ecology and evolutionary biology. The North American carnivorous plant genus Sarracenia is an attractive model system to investigate how interactions between closely related species, specifically competition over a limited resource, have shaped diversification. These plants have evolved highly modified leaves (i.e. pitchers) used in attraction, trapping, retention, and digestion of insect prey to obtain nutrients. Moreover, carnivorous plants are dependent on insects for nutrients, creating intense competition for prey among sympatric species. This competition scenario is predicted to cause strong selection on traits related to prey attraction potentially leading to resource partitioning and variation in trapping morphology. Here, we sampled from a common garden containing the 11 species listed in Mellichamp and Case (2009) and 4 putative infraspecific taxa listed by Mellichamp and Case (2009) and McPherson and Schnell (2011). Prey was sampled from all species in the spring and fall of 2014. Prey was identified to order and family. Multivariate analyses highlight significant differences in prey captured across these six species/varieties. In addition, various leaf traits were measured and multivariate analyses show differences in height, trichome densities, and peristome width between pitchers of the species sampled. These leaf traits were then compared with prey capture in a phylogenetic context to assess whether differences in prey communities may have been an important ecological driver of speciation in this genus.

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1 - University Of Georgia, Plant Biology, 2502 Miller Plant Sciences, Athens, GA, 30602, USA
2 - Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta, GA
3 - University of Georgia, Plant Biology, Athens, GA

Insect prey
Carnivorous plants
Leaf traits
Comparative analysis.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: 36
Location: Salon 5/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Time: 9:15 AM
Number: 36006
Abstract ID:220
Candidate for Awards:None

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