The genetics of restoration: a reciprocal transplant experiment with winterfat (Krascheninnikovia lanata).
Barnes, Melanie*,1, Marshall, Diane1, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
ABSTRACT- Local adaptation and outbreeding depression are factors that could affect the success of revegetation projects. The source of seed used to plant a restoration site may affect project success because seeds are best adapted to the area from which they were collected. Seed planted in distant locales may not germinate or flower at the correct time, thus leading to reduced survival and seed set, which would reduce the vegetative recovery of the site. In addition, such maladapted individuals may interbreed with locally-adapted individuals, eventually reducing the mean population fitness (outbreeding depression). Little is known about how far seeds can be planted from their collection source before exhibiting reduced vigor. I have set up a reciprocal transplant experiment in New Mexico using winterfat (Krascheninnikovia lanata, Chenopodiaceae) as the study species. Baseline demographic and community vegetation data were collected at each of six field sites in fall 2005 and seeds were gathered and kept separate by maternal plant. Winterfat growing at field sites have significantly different vegetative and floral morphology. Sites also differ in winterfat abundance, species richness, and plant species present. 13,824 seeds (6 sites x 3 plots per site x 24 maternal families per plot x 8 replicates per family x 4 seeds per pot) were sown in the greenhouse in January 2006. Days to germination was measured for each seed. Origin of the seed had a significant effect on time to germination and survival post-germination. These preliminary results indicate the potential for local adaptation effects on revegetation with winterfat.
Key words: restoration, population ecology, desert shrubland
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