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Abstract Detail

Molecular Ecology

Naibauer, Samanta [1], McGlaughlin, Mitchell [2].

Characterizing ecological and genetic patterns of the colonizing species Dubautia scabra on The Big Island, Hawaii.

The Hawaiian Silversword Alliance (HSA) is a group of approximately 35 endemic species found on the Hawaiian Islands. The HSA is of particular interest due to the vast adaptive responses of its members across the Hawaiian Islands. Each of these plant species is generally limited to a very specific habitat type with a unique morphology and physiology. Dubautia scabra is the first angiosperm colonist of new lava flows, arriving in as few as two years after lava cools. The critical role D. scabra plays in this ecosystem gives a unique starting point for understanding downstream ecological processes such as seed dispersal, colonization, and ecological succession. The processes of colonization and ecological succession are widely understood by ecologists in habitats like forests and grasslands, but researchers have not yet been able to successfully characterize primary succession on truly new habitats. The goals of this study are to determine (1) the source and direction of seed dispersal of D. scabra populations across the Big Island, Hawai’i using genetic analysis, (2) if there is a correlation between lava flow age and genetic variation among populations, and (3) characterize patterns of primary succession in new habitats. Preliminary data from this study suggests there is little correlation between the age of the lava flow and plant size or density. Additionally, there is no correlation between genetic diversity and the age of the lava flow suggesting gene flow among populations of D. scabra. Genetic analysis of organisms such as D. scabra give researchers the ability to identify patterns of colonization into new habitats, as well as determine the relationships between and among populations.

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1 - University of Northern Colorado, Biological Sciences, 501 20th St, Greeley, CO, 80639, USA
2 - University Of Northern Colorado, 501 20th St, Box 92, Greeley, CO, 80639, United States

Hawaiian Silversword Alliance
gene flow.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 22, Molecular Ecology
Location: 107/Mayo Civic Center
Date: Tuesday, July 24th, 2018
Time: 9:15 AM
Number: 22005
Abstract ID:746
Candidate for Awards:None

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