Tropical Biology Section
Treiber, Erin , Weiblen, George D .
Phylogeny of Cecropia based on chloroplast DNA Sequences.
The interaction between the neotropical plant genus Cecropia and ants of the genus Azteca is a classic ant-plant mutualism. Cecropia trees provide a home and food for the ants, while the Azteca ants provide the Cecropia trees protection from herbivores and vegetation growing on the trees. Recent work suggests that species interactions like this one are dynamic and coevolving. In this study, the phylogenetic relationship of Cecopia species was used to investigate the history of their mutualistic relationship with Azteca ant species. Phylogenetic analysis of trnH-psbA sequences from chloroplast DNA yielded a single most parsimonius tree. Known ant associations were mapped onto the phylogeny to estimate numbers of gains and losses of ant association. The data suggest that (1) an early diverging lineage is associated with non-Azteca ants (C. hispidissima), (2) ant association was lost at least once if not twice, (3) Cecropia gabrielis and C. membranacea appear to have been colonized secondarily by non-Azteca ants, and (4) some early diverging lineages (C. angustifolia and C. telenitida) lack Azteca ants, at least in part of their geographic range. Addition of nuclear gene sequences is proposed to improve the phylogenetic resolution and provide a clearer understanding of the evolutionary history of the Cecropia/Azteca relationship.
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1 - University of Minnesota, College of Biological Sciences, 1445 Gortner Avenue, Saint Paul, MN, 55108, USA
2 - University of Minnesota, Department of Plant Biology, 250 Biological Sciences, 1445 Gortner Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota, 55108, USA
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for BSA Sections
Location: Event Tent/Cliff Lodge
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2009
Time: 5:30 PM