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Abstract Detail


Smith, Emily [1], Flowers, Margaret [2], McGinnis, Ryan [3], Stevens, Martin [4], Ross, Nanci [5].

Sex expression and floral variability in the ‘food of the gods’, Diospyros virginiana (Ebenaceae).

While variation can sometimes fuel evolutionary flexibility and creativity for biotically pollinated species, variation in floral traits has long been argued to be maladaptive as even subtle changes can disturb plant-pollinator interactions. Dioecious species, species characterized by separate male and female individuals, display an extreme form of sexual dimorphism that complicates the investigation of floral variability. Even more challenging, variability in reproductive systems is a common impact of artificial selection in managed dioecious trees. Here we quantified variability in floral structure and sex expression in a perennial, dioecious, woody species, the American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) by measuring floral characters in male and female flowers from both wild and cultivated populations. We first tested the null hypothesis that variability among floral structure and sex expression will be similar between males and females. Secondly, we predicted that individuals within cultivated settings will have greater variability in both floral structure and sex expression than their wild counterparts due to a release from stabilizing selection. We quantified variation in 13 morphological characters in over 300 flowers from 11 wild and 10 cultivated American persimmon trees to investigate the interactive effects of natural selection in biotically pollinated dioecious flowers and artificial selection for increased fruit production. Analysis reveals a surprising amount of variability in American persimmon floral structure and sex expression in both cultivars and wild trees with the greatest variability expressed in male cultivars. The data suggests that artificial selection is also leading to different correlations of sex-related floral characters than seen in wild trees.

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1 - 1133 19th St, Des Moines, IA, 50314, United States
2 - 5688 N Jefferson Commons Drive, Kalamazoo, MI, 49009, United States
3 - 2805 Cottage Grove Ave, Apt #3, Des Moines, IA, 50311, United States
4 - 700 E High St, 167G PSN, Oxford, OH, 45056, United States
5 - Drake University, Biology Dept., 2507 University, Des Moines, IA, 50311, United States

floral morphology
stabilizing selection
sex expression.

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P2, Ethnobotany Posters
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Tuesday, July 20th, 2021
Time: 5:00 PM(EDT)
Number: P2ET006
Abstract ID:930
Candidate for Awards:None

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