2022 Update: Interremnant crosses

In summer 2022, I continued the interremnant crosses experiment to understand how the distance between plants in space and their timing of flowering influences the fitness of their offspring. This experiment builds on my study of gene flow and pollen movement in the remnants, asking the question of how pollen movement patterns affect offspring establishment and fitness. If plants that are located close together or flower at the same time are closely related, their offspring might be more closely related and inbred, and have lower fitness than plants that are far apart and/or flower more asynchronously. In other words, if distance in space or time is correlated with relatedness, we’d expect mating between more distant or asynchronous individuals to result in more fit offspring.

To test this hypothesis, I performed crosses between plants across a range of spatial isolation (within the same population, in adjacent populations, and in far-apart populations) in 2020. With the team’s help, I also kept track of the individuals’ flowering time to assess whether reproductive synchrony is associated with reduced offspring fitness, suggesting that individuals that flower at the same time are more closely related.

In 2021, I repeated the same hand crossing methods to assess the fitness consequences of outcrossing on 44 focal plants. However, instead of planting the offspring from these crosses as seeds, I germinated them in the growth chamber and transferred sprouts to a plug tray.

In spring 2022, with help from the team, I planted the seedlings as plugs into ExPt1. I measured the seedlings throughout the summer.

To learn more about Amy’s project, check out this video created by 2021 RET participant Alex Wicker.

  • Start year: 2020
  • Location: On27, SGC, GC, NGC, EELR, KJ, NNWLF, NWLF, LF
  • Overlaps with: phenology in the remnantsgene flow in the remnants
  • Data collected: Style shriveling and seed set and weight from crosses, start and end date of flowering, coordinates of all individuals in the populations listed above. Leaf count and height of seedlings at three points during the summer (two weeks after planting, mid-summer, and late summer).
  • Products: Stay tuned!

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