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Abstract Detail

Bryological and Lichenological Section/ABLS

Reynolds, Lauren A. [1], Stark, Lloyd R. [2], McLetchie, Nicholas [1].

Morphological and physiological differences along an environment gradient in a desert moss.

PHENOTYPIC variation within species across habitats can result from plasticity or genetic variation. The desert moss Syntrichia caninervis grows along a light and temperature gradient: in the understory, light and temperature are low relative to the inter-story between shrubs. Syntrichia caninervis appears morphologically distinct between these environments. The ultimate goal of this study is to determine if differences are plastic or genetic. An initial study was performed to quantify morphological and physiological differences. Shoots were collected in the Mojave Desert from 16 pairs (understory and interstory patches). Shoots were measured for shoot and leaf morphological traits. A subset of pairs (9) was rehydrated for 72hr hours in both high light and low light conditions. Flourescence (Fv/Fm) readings were taken before, immediately after, 24hr after, and 48hr after a heat shock treatment of 40C for one hour. Leaf length, shoot length, and width were all found to be significantly larger in understory shoots. Plants from the shade treatment showed a significantly larger Fv/Fm reading before heat shock. Compared to plants in high light conditions, plants from both habitats showed faster recovery in low light 48hr after the heat shock. These results demonstrate that understory shoots are larger than interstory shoots. The Fv/Fm data support that the ideal environment for shoot recovery from high heat is low light and the understory is the more favorable habitat. Our next step is to use a common garden to determine if morphological differences are genetic or environmental.[c.e.:srb]

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1 - University of Kentucky, Department of Biological Sciences, 101 Morgan Bld, Lexington, Kentucky, 40506-0225, USA
2 - University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Department of Biological Sciences, 4505 Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas, Nevada, 89154-4004, USA

phenotypic variation
genetic variation.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 21-6
Location: 304/Bell Memorial Union
Date: Monday, July 31st, 2006
Time: 2:45 PM
Abstract ID:482

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