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Abstract Detail

Ericaceae: Systematics, Ecology and Evolution

Keesling, Ashley [1], Freudenstein, John [1].

Reevaluating the status of the southern Indian pipe; Monotropa brittonii .

Relationships among members of Ericaceae subfamily Monotropoideae have been notoriously difficult to resolve due to convergent evolution in parasitic plants. Plants in this subfamily are achlorophyllous and mycoheterotrophic, meaning they do not photosynthesize but rather obtain nutrients via parasitizing fungi. Specifically, they parasitize mycorrhizal fungi, which are essential to many ecosystems as they form associations with plant roots and help improve water and nutrient intake. Monotropoids are highly specialized in their mycorrhizal interactions and are typically specific in association with their fungal hosts at the level of family or genus. Tight relationships between parasite and host can result in speciation when host switching occurs. Such radiations resulting from host shifts are thought to have occurred in the monotropoids. In this study, we investigate a segregate of Monotropa uniflora, M. brittonii, the Southern Indian Pipe, which has been reported from Florida scrub habitats and said to differ from M. uniflora in size and color. It has usually been synonymized with M. uniflora as the morphological characters reported as unique to the Southern Indian Pipe have been deemed normal species-level variation. This study reevaluates M. brittonii to determine if it is distinct from M. uniflora using morphological features, habitat, and identity of fungal host, along with genetic differences across several molecular loci. Through the analysis of the genetic diversity and the host range of M. uniflora across their distribution we have found support for M. brittonii as distinct genetically, in host identity, morphology, and habitat, from the more widespread M. uniflora.

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1 - The Ohio State University, Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, 1315 Kinnear rd., Columbus, OH, 43212, United States

Parasitic Plants
species delimitation
Host specificity.

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Session: CO06, Ericaceae: Systematics, Ecology and Evolution
Location: Tucson D/Starr Pass
Date: Tuesday, July 30th, 2019
Time: 10:30 AM
Number: CO06010
Abstract ID:622
Candidate for Awards:None

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