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Abstract Detail


Riley, Reece [1], Waselkov, Katherine [2].

A Phylogeny of the Western North American Montane Perennial Genus Helianthella.

This project aims to establish a phylogeny of the genus Helianthella (little sunflowers) and place it within its taxonomic subtribe in the family Asteraceae. Helianthella are all wildflowers of varying sizes, with perennial taproots and annual flowers with basal rosettes of leaves. They are distributed along the mountains of Western North America, from Southern Canada to Northern Mexico, with some highly geographically restricted species in California and Mexico. This genus has gone understudied for many decades, with its last major taxonomic treatment being a monograph in 1952. Since then it has received a few scattered additional species descriptions and seen occasional use as an outgroup in other studies, but the relationships among the 10-11 species within Helianthella, and the relationship of the genus to the four other genera in the subtribe Enceliinae, are unknown. The genetic and technological tools and methods available today, such as PCR and modern computers, were not yet invented when last this genus was directly studied, so applying them now could provide a wealth of new information about the spread and diversification of these species. A combination of genetic and morphological methods will be used to resolve a phylogeny of Helianthella and infer the evolutionary and biogeographical history of the genus. Preserved herbarium specimens and new field collections will be examined morphologically and sampled for genetic sequencing, and the gathered data will be run through multiple phylogeny-building programs. The resulting trees will give insights into the diversification of montane plants and their movement patterns. The ITS, ndhF, and trnK regions are all being sequenced and analyzed, and a single gene phylogeny has already been created using the ETS region. The preliminary data have already been sufficient to draw several conclusions about the relationships within this genus and subtribe.

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1 - California State University, Fresno, Biology Department, M/S SB73, 2555 E. San Ramon Ave., Science 1, Fresno, CA, 93702, USA
2 - California State University, Fresno, Biology Department, M/S SB73, 2555 E. San Ramon Ave., Science 1, Fresno, CA, 93740, United States

none specified

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: SYSTV, Systematics V: Euasterids cont.
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Thursday, July 22nd, 2021
Time: 1:45 PM(EDT)
Number: SYSTV006
Abstract ID:336
Candidate for Awards:None

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