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Abstract Detail

Developmental and Structural Section

Jabaily, Rachel Schmidt [1], Williams, Cody [2], Sytsma, Kenneth J. [1].

Evolving towards semelparity in Andean Puya (Bromeliaceae): testing differential investment in reproductive displays.

Semelparity (syn. monocarpy), the life-history trait of senescing after a single, massive sexual reproduction episode, is relatively rare in long-lived angiosperms. Puya (Bromeliaceae), a large genus of long-lived, terrestrial Andean rosette plants, were found during fieldwork through the Andes to exhibit variability in life history type. The majority of species are iteroparous, producing vegetative daughter rosettes before producing terminal inflorescences. Several species, primarily from high elevations in the wetter northern Andes, often reproduce and die with no vegetative reproduction, and are a placed in a new category here called semi-semelparous. Only Puya raimondii, the largest bromeliad on earth from the high-elevation, drier central Andes, is always semelparous. Semelparous taxa in other giant rosette genera (Yucca , Agave , Lobelia ) have been shown to invest more energy in reproductive displays than close iteroparous relatives. To see if the semi-semelparous taxa are evolving towards true semelparity, photographs of the majority of Puya species in the field were converted into pixels and the ratio between the inflorescence and vegetative rosette area was calculated and compared between iteroparous, semi-semelparous and semelparous taxa. Permutations of these data (e.g., exponentially scaled) were explored. The photograph analysis method was ground-truthed using living Puya specimens at the Huntington Botanical Garden. Iteroparous species vary widely in reproductive allocation and thus it is not possible to tell if semi-semelparous are more similar to semelparous Puya raimondii or iteroparous species. The reproductive effort model of semelparity evolution and aspects of energetics used in generating massive inflorescences may explain the evolution of semelparity in high-elevation Puya species.

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1 - University of Wisconsin-Madison, Botany, 430 Lincoln Drive, Madison, WI, 53706, United States
2 - University of Wisconsin, Madison, Department of Botany, Birge Hall, 430 Lincoln Drive, Madison, Wisconsin, 53706-1381, USA

life history

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for BSA Sections
Session: P2
Location: Event Tent/Cliff Lodge
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: P2DS004
Abstract ID:415