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Abstract Detail

Reproductive Processes

Diver, Danielle Lake [1], Savage, Jessica [2].

Weighing the Risks and Benefits of Flowering Early for the Woody Perennial Prunus pumila (Rosaceae).

As global weather patterns become increasingly unpredictable, the need to study the impact of this phenomenon on natural and anthropocentric ecosystems alike is increasingly urgent. Based on climate change predictions for the rest of this century, much research has been conducted to reveal plants' response to stress from heat and drought. However, fewer studies have focused on the response of perennial plants to freezing, another possible result of climate change. Plant phenology has already begun to advance, which makes plants that flower and leaf out early particularly vulnerable to freezing damage from late spring frosts. Yet, there may be advantages to flowering early that outstrip the potential risks, especially if pollinators also adjust their phenology to warming conditions. Temperature during anthesis (when open flowers are present on a plant) has a significant impact on fertility, floral metabolism, and the production and quality of floral rewards that attract pollinators. In 2020 we monitored a population of Prunus pumila with artificially delayed phenology over the course of the growing season. Flower and fruit number and mass, pollinator visitations, the effects of floral age on hand pollination, and seed germination were all measured. Consistent with the results of other studies, our results suggest that flowering time and temperature at anthesis affect reproductive success, with fewer fruits produced in warmer conditions.  To build on this work, we are currently examining the effects of floral freezing on pollinator attraction and reproductive success for Prunus pumila. Potted plants growing in ambient conditions with natural phenology are being exposed to one of two subzero temperatures or a near-freezing control temperature. Flower samples are taken for evaluation of petal damage and electrolyte leakage. A subset of flowers on each plant is hand pollinated or bagged to exclude insects and gauge the effects of pollen limitation and selfing, respectively. Plants are then taken back to the field and observed over the course of flowering for pollinator visitation and monitored for signs of successful fertilization and reproduction. Our findings will contribute to the current knowledge of Prunus, a global genus with both economic and ecologic value that could be greatly impacted by climate change.

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Related Links:
Savage Plant Physiology and Ecology Lab

1 - University of Minnesota Duluth, Integrated Biosciences, 1035 Kirby Drive, 251 Swenson Science Building, Dululth, MN, 55812, USA
2 - University of Minnesota Duluth, Integrated Biosciences, 1035 Kirby Drive, 251 Swenson Science Building, Duluth, MN, 55812, USA

climate change
Freezing tolerance
Floral development
plant reproduction.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: RP1, Reproductive Processes 1
Location: /
Date: Thursday, July 22nd, 2021
Time: 10:45 AM(EDT)
Number: RP1004
Abstract ID:666
Candidate for Awards:None

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