Prunier, Rachel , Holsinger, Kent E. .
Plastic and Evolutionary Responses to an Environmental Gradient: Leaf Traits in the genus Protea (Proteaceae L.).
The Cape Floristic Region (CFR) of South Africa is home to approximately 8000 plant species, two thirds of which are endemic. Much of this diversity is held within a few very large groups; over 600 species of Erica have been described in the region. Another such group is the protea family (Proteaceae) which is represented by 362 species in the region. It is thought that the group has undergone a series of rapid speciation events. One hypothesized explanation for the presence of such large groups is evolutionary response to differential natural selection. This hypothesis has been proposed because there are gradients in both the amount and seasonality of rainfall across the CFR. Leaf traits mediate a plantís response to its environment, thus they might be expected to differ in plants responding to different environmental pressures. The white proteas (Protea section Exsertae) provide an excellent group in which to test this hypothesis because they have non-overlapping ranges that together span the CFR. Here we investigate genetic and plastic influences on variation in specific leaf area and length to width ratio in five white protea species measured on both wild grown plants and those grown in a common garden. Out analysis takes advantage of high resolution environmental data available for the region.
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1 - University of Connecticut, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 75 N. Eagleville Rd., U-3043, Storrs, CT, 06269, USA
2 - University of Connecticut, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, 75 North Eagleville Road, U-3043, Storrs, Connecticut, 062693043, USA
Cape Floristic Region
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Location: Exhibit Hall (Northeast, Southwest & Southeast)/Hilton
Date: Sunday, July 8th, 2007
Time: 8:00 AM