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Abstract Detail

Botanical foundations for perennial agriculture: Evolution and ecology of perennial herbaceous plants

Wagenius, Stuart [1].

Environmental and genetic contributions to lifetime fitness in a long-lived herbaceous prairie perennial.

Herbaceous perennials that reduce erosion, retain carbon and water, and require minimal chemical inputs are wanted for polyculture agriculture. Phenotypic and genetic trade-offs between yield and traits that contribute to these agro-ecological services may exist. Little is known about the genetic and environmental basis for variation in these traits in perennials when grown in polyculture. In this presentation I synthesize results from common garden experiments of a long-lived perennial purple coneflower Echinacea angustifolia (Asteraceae) that is native to the North American great plains. Six experiments were established 1996 - 2006 using thousands of individual seedlings with known pedigrees transplanted into old fields with established vegetation. Annually we assessed survival, growth, and reproductive fitness of all plants. Key results include the following: 1. The small remnant patches within our study exhibit substantial genetic differentiation in lifetime fitness and other traits. 2. These self-incompatible plants harbor very high genetic load, which is expressed as severely depressed fitness in progeny of half-sib parents. 3. Our local population maintains considerable additive genetic variation for lifetime fitness, revealing ample capacity for adaptation to contemporary conditions in experimental plots. And 4. prescribed dormant season fires influence a) survival of juvenile plants, a life history stage that is drawn out over many years, and b) the synchrony of flowering of adult plants among years, which affects annual reproductive fitness. I interpret fitness results in the context of yield. Long-term longitudinal studies combined with modern statistical approaches (aster modeling) provide useful information about genetic and environmental drivers of variation in traits key for introducing herbaceous perennials into polyculture agriculture. I end by discussing breeding and ecological management strategies that may promote yield and agro-ecological services.

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Related Links:
Echinacea Project

1 - Chicago Botanic Garden, Conservation Science, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL, 60022, USA

Echinacea angustifolia
Quantitative Genetics

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Session: C02, Botanical foundations for perennial agriculture: Evolution and ecology of perennial herbaceous plants
Location: 102/Mayo Civic Center
Date: Monday, July 23rd, 2018
Time: 8:30 AM
Number: C02002
Abstract ID:800
Candidate for Awards:None

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