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Williams, Tanisha [1], Heim, Jeff [1], McGuire, Chloe [2], Wrobleski, Amy [2], Bird, Rebecca Bliege [2], Martine, Christopher [1].

Using population genomics methods to understand how Indigenous peoples have influenced diversity and distribution of Solanum diversiflorum across Australia’s Western Desert.

The species-rich genus Solanum L. contributes over 200 species to the diverse and unique flora of Australia. Many of the Australian members of the genus are adapted to or tolerant of disturbance, fire and drastic seasonal oscillations. Not only are these species important to various ecosystems, but some Solanum taxa play a pivotal role as subsistence resources and are of cultural significance to Indigenous communities throughout the continent. The Martu, Indigenous foragers of the Western Desert, use several Solanum species as a food staple. Solanum diversiflorum F. Muell., locally known as wamula, has an edible, tasty fruit eaten when moving throughout the landscape. Seeds of the species are bitter and discarded along movement corridors. These corridors are known as Dreaming pathways, and are the traditional Martu practices of patch burning, hunting, and collecting and scattering (passive planting) of species, and these practices still occur today. The Dreaming pathways create a mosaic of connected ‘garden’ centers that serve as campsites, and plant and animal processing sites throughout the Western Desert. It has been shown that these practices have positive ecological impacts on animal populations, but there has been little study on the Dreaming tradition impacts on plant species within the region. Leaf specimens from two types of sites were collected: specimens from movement corridors and near ‘garden’ centers around the Martu territory, and specimens from populations that have not had human disturbance outside of the Martu territory. We are using population genomics methods to assess and compare genetic diversity and population structure of disturbed vs. non-disturbed populations, and assessing how the Martu have shaped the distribution, diversity, and dispersal patterns of S. diversiflorum. We are trying to link how humans, being some of the best long distance dispersal agents, impact gene flow and plant distributions across Australia’s Western Desert.

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1 - Bucknell University, Biology, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg, PA, 17837, USA
2 - The Pennsylvania State University, Anthropology, 323 Carpenter Building , University Park, PA, 16802, USA

Solanum L.
Indigenous knowledge
Population genomics.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: ETH, Ethnobotany
Location: /
Date: Wednesday, July 21st, 2021
Time: 11:00 AM(EDT)
Number: ETH002
Abstract ID:826
Candidate for Awards:None

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