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Abstract Detail



Evolutionary insights from studies of geographic variation: Establishing a baseline and looking ahead to future change

Schneider, Heather [1], Soper-Gorden, Nicole [2], Weber, Jennifer [3].

Evolutionary insights from studies of geographic variation: Establishing a baseline and looking ahead to future change.

Significance: Studies of geographic variation provide a powerful basis for investigation of evolutionary patterns in plant traits in situ. Geographic variation can act as proxy for experimental treatments (e.g. gradients of climate across elevation or latitude) or as a substitute for temporal studies in the context of climate change biology. Studies using geographic variation can contribute to our understanding of plasticity versus phenotypic adaptation to local environments, the limitations of species’ abilities to shift ranges, and the consequences of living on the periphery of a range. These studies also offer opportunities to make predictions about the ability of plant populations to evolve in response to climate change, the invasion of exotic species, or other environmental disturbances.  Specifically, studies of geographic variation are essential for understanding the evolution of plant species when used for temporal comparisons, because plants continue to respond to large-scale disturbances such as changes in climate, species composition, and land-use.  
Tentative overview of symposium: Studies of geographic variation can provide evolutionary information that may not be apparent through studies in a smaller geographic area. Studies across geographic clines allow for the investigation of patterns of plant selection that may not otherwise be observed. These studies vary widely and range from population to ecosystem studies, and from manipulative experiments to geospatial or demographic modeling. Each of these approaches provides unique information about the functional and adaptive significance of traits affected by geographic variation, and can sometimes lead to insights on the genetic basis for these adaptations. Understanding current geographic patterns of plant ecology and selection can influence evolutionary theories about how plant populations and species ranges may change over time.   In this symposium, we will showcase research that has led to evolutionary insights based on studies of geographic variation.  We will begin the symposium with what we know about how geographic variation currently affects selection in plants and move on to how plant ranges and geographic selection patterns may respond over time (e.g. to climate change or other disturbances). We have invited a diverse group of speakers to cover a broad range of experimental approaches, study species, and habitats. We seek to provide a symposium that caters to a wide range of attendees for maximum exposure to an interesting and relevant topic and provide a platform for the exchange of information and ideas about the role of geographic variation in plant evolution.        


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1 - University of California, Santa Barbara, Ecology, Evolution, & Marine Biology, Santa Barbara, CA, 93106, USA
2 - University of Minnesota, Duluth, Biology, 207 ssb, 1035 Kirby Drive, Duluth, MN, 55812, USA
3 - Fordham University, Biological Sciences, 441 East Fordham Road, Bronx, NY, 10458, USA

Keywords:
Evolutionary ecology
Geographic variation
Climate change
Adaptation.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: SY08
Location: Firs North/Boise Centre
Date: Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
Time: 8:00 AM
Number: SY08SUM
Abstract ID:24
Candidate for Awards:None


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