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Gomer, Gillian [1], Mason, Chase [2], Goolsby, Eric [3].

Consequences of Stress-Induced Trait Plasticity in Cultivated Helianthus.

The Leaf Economics Spectrum (LES) describes the continuous range of strategies plants across the globe utilize to achieve a net-positive return on their resource investment and is measured by traits such as leaf mass per area, leaf nitrogen, and leaf lifespan. Unsuitable trait combinations are selected against in nature due to a net-loss on the return of initial resource investment, while some extremely effective trait combinations may not be possible due to genetic constraints. Existing genetic variation in LES traits, however, suggests the spectrum may be less rigid than previously expected. To test this, we exploit phenotypic plasticity by subjecting cultivated sunflower, Helianthus annuus, to environmental stress to generate variability in LES traits. In a greenhouse experiment, treatment groups of Helianthus were exposed to six varying intensities of each of four stresses: nutrient limitation, soil salinity, heat, and simulated herbivory. Leaves formed during the onset of stress and post-stress were sampled to measure leaf traits; plant fitness was estimated through total plant biomass and the time of first flowering. Results from statistical analyses show a variety of significant effects that stress applications had on plant growth and LES traits. Our findings explore the possibility of achieving off-axis LES trait combinations through stress-induced plasticity, and the rigidity of the LES.

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1 - University of Central Florida, Department of Biology, 4110 Libra Dr, Orlando, FL, 32816, USA
2 - University Of Central Florida, Department Of Biology, 4110 Libra Dr, Orlando, FL, 32816, United States
3 - University of Central Florida, Department of Biology, 4110 Libra Drive, Orlando, FL, 32816, USA

abiotic and biotic stress
phenotypic plasticity
leaf economics

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P2, Ecophysiology Posters
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Tuesday, July 20th, 2021
Time: 5:00 PM(EDT)
Number: P2PE004
Abstract ID:419
Candidate for Awards:Physiological Section Physiological Section Li-COR Prize

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