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Abstract Detail

Genetics Section

Williams, Claire G. [1].

Can pine pollen survive dispersal through the atmospheric water cycle?

Some fraction of pine pollen, along with other primary biological aerosol particles, ascends to the upper atmosphere at altitudes of 2 to 6 km above the earth’s surface where it can be captured from the atmosphere by cloud formation then transported inside precipitation droplets which in turn descend to the earth’s surface. How this pollen interacts with cloud formation depends in part upon its taxon-specific properties. One of these properties is a demonstrated capacity to trigger ice nucleation, one of the basic processes inherent to cloud formation. Whether Pinus spp. pollen survives harsh freeze-thaw cycles typical of cloud formation is relevant to how forests ameliorate climate and, to a lesser extent, gene flow among distant populations. The question of survival was first addressed in the laboratory where pollen from six Old World and New World species were subjected to atmospheric protocols for immersion freezing. The chief findings were that (a) pollen did not rupture, (b) pollen still germinated and (c) dehydrated pollen had higher germination than water-saturated pollen. Next, survival was tallied on rain- and wind-transported pine pollen captured on North Carolina’s barrier islands in the Atlantic Ocean. Pine pollen has proved to be unusually good model for tracing biological particles through the water cycle but whether its rain-mediated dispersal contributes to gene flow is still debatable.      

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1 - 1289 North Fordham Blvd # 184, Chapel Hill, NC, 27514, USA

pollen dispersal
gene flow
cloud formation.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 22
Location: Rapids/Grove
Date: Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
Time: 9:15 AM
Number: 22002
Abstract ID:229
Candidate for Awards:None


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