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Harvard Forest Symposium Abstract 2009

  • Title: Palynological analysis of the genus Sarracenia
  • Primary Author: Wyatt Oswald (Emerson College)
  • Additional Authors: Elaine Doughty (Harvard Forest); Aaron Ellison (Independent); Gidi Ne'eman (University of Haifa); Rina Ne'eman (University of Haifa)
  • Abstract:

    To gain insights into systematic relationships within one genus of North American pitcher plants, we analyzed the morphology of pollen grains for ten species and subspecies of Sarracenia. Four taxa had relatively small pollen grains (mean equatorial diameter ~11-12 microns; S. purpurea, S. rubra ssp. rubra, S. rubra ssp. alabamensis, and S. rubra ssp. jonesii) and six taxa had significantly larger pollen grains (mean ~13-14 microns; S. alata, S. oreophila, S. rubra, S. minor, S. flava, and S. leucophylla). Analysis of colpi numbers resulted in a different grouping of these same taxa: S. rubra ssp. rubra, S. rubra ssp. alabamensis, S. rubra ssp. jonesii, S. purpurea, and S. minor generally had 7-8 colpi; most S. oreophila had 8 colpi; and S. psittacina, S. alata, S. flava, and S. leucophylla had 8-9 colpi. Neither groupings of pitcher-plants based on equatorial diameters nor groupings of pitcher-plants based on numbers of colpi align with hypothesized phylogenetic relationships in this genus based on molecular data (Neyland and Merchant, 2006; Madrono 53: 223-232) or analyses of seed size and germination requirements (Ellison, 2001; American Journal of Botany 88: 429-437). These results suggest that there are complex interactions between phylogeny and biotic and abiotic factors that determine reproductive morphology.

  • Research Category: Biodiversity Studies, Physiological Ecology, Population Dynamics, and Species Interactions

  • Figures:
  • pitcherplant_11mar09.pdf