Stevens , Sally Marie , Emery, Nancy .
Home is Where the Heat Is? Temperature and Humidity Responses in a Fern Gametophyte.
In response to rapid climatic shifts associated with climate change, organisms will be pressured to disperse to higher latitudes or elevations, adapt in situ, or adjust via phenotypic plasticity. Populations spanning a species’ geographic range may vary in the degree to which they exhibit these responses, depending on their local environmental conditions and the extent to which they are locally adapted to their home site. We quantified population-specific responses to climate change in the asexual, gametophytic fern species, Vittaria appalachiana. This species is restricted to the cool, moist, back walls of rock outcrops, which are patchily distributed throughout the Appalachian Mountains of Eastern North America. Using a manipulative study we tested the hypothesis that populations are locally adapted to their home climates and will vary in their responses to increased temperatures and altered humidity levels associated with climate change. Specially, we conducted a growth chamber experiment where individuals from six different populations were exposed to ten different temperatures and four humidity levels. Results indicate that temperature, humidity, and source population significantly influence growth, survival, and photochemical efficiency. After approximately three months of exposure to the different temperature and humidity treatments, we observed higher survival and growth rates at the lowest temperatures and humidity levels; however, responses varied substantially among populations. These results indicate that populations of V. appalachiana will exhibit different short-term responses to climate change because they vary in temperature and humidity tolerance. We hypothesize that similar patterns are likely to emerge for other species that are also restricted to patchy habitats and have little potential for long-distance gene flow.
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1 - Graduate Student, Botany, Purdue University, 915 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN, 47907, USA
2 - Purdue University, Biological Sciences, and Botany & Plant Pathology, 915 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN, 47907-2054, United States
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Location: Pines North/Boise Centre
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2014
Time: 10:15 AM
Candidate for Awards:None