Location

Schewel 232

Access Type

Campus Access Only

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

April 2022

Department

Biology

Abstract

Selection imposed by local environmental conditions on plant populations with large geographic ranges can result in local adaptation in fitness-related traits, such as germination time, growth rate, leaf number, and defense. Understanding local adaptation is critical for successful restoration of declining populations of certain plant species, such as Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), the major food plant of Monarch butterfly larvae. Evidence suggests that Common Milkweeds are locally adapted with respect to certain growth traits, including height, stem count, number of leaves, and length and width of the leaves. I conducted a common garden experiment to test the hypothesis that density and size of stomata - leaf pores used for gas exchange and transpiration - are locally adapted traits. Seeds representing 45 genotypes collected from ten populations across the range of Common Milkweed were germinated and transplanted into a common garden in central Virginia. Stomata density and size were quantified from leaf impressions. Although stomata density showed a trend towards significant variation among the source populations, it did not vary with latitude or longitude. In contrast, stomata size varied significantly with longitude of the source populations and close to significantly with latitude. These results suggest local adaptation in stomata size, but not density.

Key Words: Common Milkweed, Local Adaptation, Stomata Size, Stomata Density, Common Garden Experiment, Asclepias syriaca

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. John Styrsky Dr. Jennifer Styrsky Dr. Holly Gould

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Apr 6th, 10:00 AM

A common garden experiment suggests local adaptation in stomata size but not stomata density in Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

Schewel 232

Selection imposed by local environmental conditions on plant populations with large geographic ranges can result in local adaptation in fitness-related traits, such as germination time, growth rate, leaf number, and defense. Understanding local adaptation is critical for successful restoration of declining populations of certain plant species, such as Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), the major food plant of Monarch butterfly larvae. Evidence suggests that Common Milkweeds are locally adapted with respect to certain growth traits, including height, stem count, number of leaves, and length and width of the leaves. I conducted a common garden experiment to test the hypothesis that density and size of stomata - leaf pores used for gas exchange and transpiration - are locally adapted traits. Seeds representing 45 genotypes collected from ten populations across the range of Common Milkweed were germinated and transplanted into a common garden in central Virginia. Stomata density and size were quantified from leaf impressions. Although stomata density showed a trend towards significant variation among the source populations, it did not vary with latitude or longitude. In contrast, stomata size varied significantly with longitude of the source populations and close to significantly with latitude. These results suggest local adaptation in stomata size, but not density.

Key Words: Common Milkweed, Local Adaptation, Stomata Size, Stomata Density, Common Garden Experiment, Asclepias syriaca