An overview of my project investigating the effects of inter- and intraspecific competition on morphological and architectural plastic root responses in restoration relevant plants native to the Colorado Plateau and how they affect soil components and mycorrhizal associations.
Living collections are important when it comes to the conservation of exceptional species. It also provides plants with the care they need to complete their reproductive cycle. In this video, I will be discussing how living collections are useful and explain some of the issues that need to be considered to maximize their value.
The genetic diversity of a population contributes to the overall fitness of a population, and is therefore an important focus in plant conservation. However, there is still much to be learned about the factors which influence genetic diversity. Learn how researchers at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, IL, are using molecular genetics to track the influence of pollinators on gene flow!
https://www.chicagobotanic.org/research (I reference this link at the end of my video.)
Current efforts to restore prairie ecosystems require that ecologists and land managers choose a seed sourcing strategy that minimizes genetic risks and increases adaptive potential in the face of climate change. A common garden study was conducted to compare the phenology and fitness of plants sourced from three potential regions differing by latitude. After observing low seedling establishment of southern-sourced plants in Chamaecrista fasciculata, we compared frost tolerance across sources, generation, and development stage.
To measure the degree of stress that different forms of competition put on plants, we measured the expression of an induced defense in Koeleria macrantha. This is an overview of the process of collecting blades, staining epidermal peels, and data collection done to answer the question, how do antagonistic interactions impact induced defenses?
The video discusses O. organensis in regards to the impacts that ex-situ conservation could have on its morphology, phenology, and self-incompatibility. Also, it briefly discusses the main pollinator of O. organensis, and the overarching goals of this research for expanded knowledge on ex-situ conservation.
Brighamia insignis, also known as Olulu, Alula, or “cabbage on a stick”, is a shrub-like, semi-succulent caudiciform endemic to the Hawaiian islands of Kaua’i and Ni’ihau. B. insignis is one of only two species in the Brighamia genus, both being critically endangered in the wild. The main distinguishing feature separating the two species is their differing flower colors. Due to lack of genetic fitness, loss of sole pollinator, the threat of invasive plant and animal species, human interference, and hurricanes, Alula has been brought to near extinction in the wild. The objective is to accumulate international off-site (ex situ) samples from gardens and institutions to test the genetic diversity.
This movie explains our study’s definition of invasive species and how the abundance and diversity of the invading seeds may affect invasion success. It also briefly outlines our approach to testing these hypotheses and why this study is important.
Genetic rescue is a potential conservation technique for rare plant species found in small fragmented populations. It involves transferring genetically diverse alleles to augment populations that are inbred and have low genetic diversity. In this video, I explain how my mentor Nora Gavin-Smyth and I investigated whether genetic rescue would be effective at increasing seed set for the rare species Hill's thistle (Cirsium hillii).
A concern regarding climate change is plant-pollinator mismatch, which is essentially mismatched timing between flowering and pollinator emergence that could cause a reduction in fitness in both plant and pollinator. Insect collection and pinning is an important method to monitor pollinator visitation, abundance, and diversity throughout the season.
Diatoms are a group of unicellular algae responsible for one fifth of the world’s primary productivity. A productive way to study the diversity and protein functions of different diatom species is through the implementation of various bioinformatics and genomic tools.
This summer, we’ve been testing hawkmoth caterpillars to see if they have a preference when it comes to choosing food sources. We have also been trying to determine if the caterpillars grow better on these preferred food sources.