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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Vallez, John [1], Gross, Briana L. [2], Etterson, Julie R. [3].

Conservation and Monitoring of Minnesota’s Rare Arctic Plants.

The rare arctic relict plant populations of Minnesota, found in the cool and moist microclimate produced along the cold waters of Lake Superior, face an uncertain future due to anthropogenic climate change. We used a combination of ecological and evolutionary approaches to examine the impacts of this warming threat across a north/south latitudinal range. Ecological niche modeling of Minnesota populations of Pinguicula vulgaris, Euphrasia hudsoniana, and Primula mistissinica show a drastic reduction in suitable habitat probability when a conservative future forecast climate model is applied. To investigate if these arctic relict communities have changed in the past two decades of warming, we selected nine Relevé survey sites with community composition data from 2000 and 2001 and resurvey them in 2019 and 2020. Large temporal turnover was observed across all sites over the last ~20 years, and southern sites, where warmer temperatures are recorded, showed an overall mean decrease in species richness. To understand patterns of selection across the latitudinal gradient that the populations span in Minnesota, we established plots at four sites and collected data for phenotypic selection analysis on the relicts Pinguicula vulgaris, Euphrasia hudsoniana, and Primula mistissinica. Reduced flowering was observed in southern most plots for all species, likely due to stress from recorded average summer temperatures nearly 2°C warmer than northern plots. Phenotypic selection analysis of Pinguicula vulgaris, the species most vulnerable to climactic changes according to environmental niche modeling, reveals differences in selection acting on flowering date between northern and southern populations. This suggests that the warm range edge populations are facing selective pressures that are novel and potentially extreme compared to more northern populations. These findings, in addition to future population viability analysis, aim to direct conservation efforts to prevent extirpation of these arctic relict communities in Minnesota.

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1 - University of Minnesota Duluth, Biology, 1035 Kirby Drive, 207 Swenson Science Building, Duluth, Minnesota, 55807, United States
2 - University Of Minnesota Duluth, Department Of Biology, 207 Swenson Science Building, 1035 Kirby Drive, Duluth, MN, 55812, United States
3 - University Of Minnesota Duluth, 207 Swenson Science Building, 1110 Kirby Drive, 207 Swenson Science Building, 1110 Kirby Drive, 1035 Kirby Drive, Duluth, MN, 55812, United States

climate change
phenotypic selection
community ecology
Niche Modeling.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: CB01, Conservation Biology 1
Location: /
Date: Wednesday, July 21st, 2021
Time: 10:45 AM(EDT)
Number: CB01004
Abstract ID:785
Candidate for Awards:None

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