Create your own conference schedule! Click here for full instructions

The Virtual Conference is located at

Abstract Detail


Elliott, Tammy [1], Zedek, František [1], Muasya, Muthama [2], Bureš, Petr [1].

Environmental correlates of genome size differences in the Cyperids.

Genome sizes across land plants exhibit an interesting 2400-fold variation, with monocots having among the widest range of variation among the major plant lineages. It is possible that there are additional ‘costs’ for plants to build and maintain the extra genomic material associated with larger genomes. Specifically, it is predicted that a plant's nitrogen (N) and phosphorous (P) requirements should reflect large differences in genome size, since N- and P-demanding nucleic acids compose most genomic material. It is also predicted that species with larger genomes will have smaller niche sizes, as polyploids species are often restricted in distribution. To date, the few existing tests of this theory have focused on long-term cultivation experiments, creating an opportunity to demonstrate the relationships among genome size, essential nutrient preferences and niche size for native plants species sharing a similar growth form, while considering evolutionary relationships. In this study, we examine whether plants with larger genomes are associated with more N-rich and P-rich locations at the global scale. In addition, we investigate if there is an association between plants with larger genomes and smaller niche sizes. We focus our study on the Cyperids (families Cyperaceae, Juncaceae and Thurniaceae), a clade of grass-like plants. The relatively uniform growth form of Cyperids and its worldwide distribution makes the clade a good system to examine the relationships of genome size and environmental growing conditions. We combine edaphic and climatic data from the SoilGrids250m 2.0 and CHELSA (Climatologies at high resolution for the earth’s land surface areas) databases, respectively, with location data for over 600 species of Cyperids downloaded from GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility). We examine relationships between genome size as the predictor and N, P and niche size as the response variables by incorporating the evolutionary relationships among the different Cyperids species with PGLS (phylogenetic generalized least squares) analyses. Our results indicate a positive relationship between N and genome size, and a triangular negative relationship between niche size (as measured as EOO) and genome size. This study will add to the growing body of knowledge on the role of genome size in the evolution of species’ niches.

Log in to add this item to your schedule

1 - Masaryk University, Department of Botany and Zoology, Kotlarska 2, Brno, Czech Republic
2 - University of Cape Town, Department of Biological Sciences, Private Bag X3, Cape Town, South Africa

genome size
niche size
climatic niche
edaphic niche.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: BIOGI, Biogeography I
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Monday, July 19th, 2021
Time: 2:15 PM(EDT)
Number: BIOGI008
Abstract ID:510
Candidate for Awards:None

Copyright © 2000-2021, Botanical Society of America. All rights reserved