Prunier, Rachel .
Local adaptation to nutrient and drought stress in the white proteas (Protea section Exsertae).
The Cape Floristic Region (CFR) of southwestern South Africa is home to some 9000 species, two thirds of which are endemic to that region. Unlike other species rich regions, the CFR is typified by moderate alpha diversity but high beta diversity. Each mountain range has its own unique flora. Two climatic gradients (drying from south to north and rainfall seasonality from east to west) along with orographic effects from several mountain ranges create a wide variety of local conditions. In addition, the underlying bedrocks and soils are highly variable in their nutrient content. The white proteas (Protea section Exsertae) are a monophyletic clade with mainly non-overlapping distributions across the CFR. I use this group to investigate the role of local adaptation in the diversification of plant lineages in this region. In this study, I performed a greenhouse experiment to examine above and below ground traits that relate to water and nutrient acquisition on individuals from 5 populations of each of the 6 species of the white proteas. I then relate those trait values to local environmental conditions (soil fertility, drought intensity, and temperature) to determine the extent to which local adaptation has played a role in the differentiation of this group.
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1 - University of Connecticut, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 75 N. Eagleville Rd., U-3043, Storrs, CT, 06269, USA
Cape Floristic Region
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for BSA Sections
Location: Alpine B/Snowbird Center
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
Time: 8:45 AM