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Abstract Detail

Ericaceae: Systematics, Ecology and Evolution

Kriebel, Ricardo [1], Rose, Jeff [2], Bastide, Paul [3], Jolles, Diana [4], Sytsma, Kenneth J. [1].

Dissecting the evolution of flower shape and size and their relationships to pollination in Ericaceae at a global scale.

The incredible diversity of Angiosperms and their emblematic flowers is partly the result of pollinator-mediated natural selection. Traits influenced by pollinators in this process include floral tubes formed by the fusion of petals or sepals that restrict access to floral rewards such as nectar. A challenge in further understanding the evolution of floral shape and its relationship to pollination is treating floral tubes in a continuous fashion to avoid the problems and oversimplification of discretizing continuous variation into discrete states. Here we use the species rich family Ericaceae, which exhibits considerable variation in shape and size of tubular flowers and independently evolved bird pollination from insect pollination in most continents, to test the hypothesis that floral tube shape and size change in association with switches in pollinators. To do so, we constructed a family-wide database of floral tube outlines and measurements for morphometric analyses, and assembled pollinator records for ancestral state reconstruction. Floral tube shape and size for almost 1,400 species were quantified from outlines using elliptic Fourier analysis. Additional floral traits such as anther shape and size were included to get a more complete view of floral evolution in the Ericaceae. Partial data were available for close to 2,000 species. To find shifts in floral morphology during the evolutionary history of Ericaceae and to test the hypothesis that these shifts match switches in pollinator regimes, we matched these morphological and pollinator data to a recent molecular chronogram of the Ericaceae and the order Ericales. The final analysis included 1,200 species representing all major clades in Ericaceae. Some species in the family lack a floral tube, which can be a problem in the analysis of continuous traits. We explore several ways to include those traits in our framework, that can efficiently handle missing data. Using these morphological data, pollinator regimes, and divergence time estimation for the family, we weigh evidence in favor or against Gerald Mayr's hypothesis that some Old World Vaccinioids may have been hummingbird pollinated. This research highlights the utility of quantifying continuous variables, rather than scoring them as categorical traits, and using phylogenetic comparative methods for studying floral evolution at large taxonomic and temporal scales.

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1 - University Of Wisconsin, Department Of Botany, Birge Hall, 430 Lincoln Drive, Madison, WI, 53706, United States
2 - The University of Wisconsin-Madison, Botany, 430 Lincoln Dr., Madison, WI
3 - Rega Institute, Evolutionary and Computational Virology Section, Herestraat 49, Leuven, 3000, Belgium
4 - Plymouth State University, Biological Sciences, 17 High Street, Msc 64, Plymouth, NH, 03264, United States

Comparative methods

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Session: C07a, Ericaceae: Systematics, Ecology, and Evolution Part 1
Location: 114/Mayo Civic Center
Date: Tuesday, July 24th, 2018
Time: 11:00 AM
Number: C07a004
Abstract ID:586
Candidate for Awards:None

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