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Abstract Detail


Villeda, Jose [1], Coker, Cassidy [1], Slimp, Madeline [2], Bailey, Zachary [3], Johnson, Matthew [4], Smith, Nicholas [1].

Correlation of plant traits along a fast-slow continuum using 50 year-old herbarium specimens.

The significant lifecycle events of different plants, life histories, help understand how factors like natural selection are constantly acting on a certain environment. Within different environments, plants utilize various strategies to promote survival and reproductive success. These strategies fall along a fast-slow continuum, describing the pace of growth, length of lifespan, and time to reproduction. Placing species on this continuum is determined by the correlation of various plant traits like leaf carbon to nitrogen (C/N) ratio and stomatal density. Here, we used over 200 herbarium specimens collected in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park in the 1970s when the park was first established and determined leaf C/N ratio with an elemental analyzer and measured stomatal density of leaf tissues. We hypothesized that leaf C/N ratios would be lower in herbaceous species than woody species because of the need for greater enzymatic production to promote faster growth and time to reproduction, and that stomatal density would change with elevation in this topologically complex desert region. Our results highlight easy-to-measure traits that can be sampled from herbarium specimens to explore variation in life history strategies. Future studies will make comparisons to present-day samples to better understand plant responses to climate and land use changes and their effects on botanical diversity.

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1 - Texas Tech University, Biological Sciences
2 - Texas Tech University, Department of Biological Sciences
3 - Harvard University Herbarium
4 - Texas Tech University, Biological Sciences, 2901 Main Street, Ms3131, Lubbock, TX, 79409, United States

stomatal density
carbon nitrogen ratio
herbarium specimens
Guadalupe Mountains.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: ECOPH1, Ecophysiology I
Location: /
Date: Monday, July 19th, 2021
Time: 11:00 AM(EDT)
Number: ECOPH1005
Abstract ID:742
Candidate for Awards:Physiological Section Physiological Section Li-COR Prize,Physiological Section Best Paper Presentation

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