Event Title

The Phylogeny of Gypsum Endemic Plants in the Mentzelia Genus

Presenter Information

Sydney Garnett, Oberlin College

Location

Science Center, Bent Corridor

Start Date

10-28-2016 5:30 PM

End Date

10-28-2016 6:00 PM

Poster Number

37

Abstract

Gypsum, or calcium sulfate, is a type of soil that is very inhospitable to most plants due to its chemical composition. Despite this, there are many different species of plants that thrive on gypsum, including four species of the blazing star genus Mentzelia, that grow on no other substrate. Do all four gypsum Mentzelias share a common ancestry, or did they evolve independently to grow exclusively on gypsum? To understand the evolution of gypsum adaptations within these four species ( M. perennis, M. todiltoensis, M. humilis var. humilis and M. humilis var guadalupensis),I isolated DNA from around 20 populations from across all four species and sequenced DNA from two chloroplast gene regions (the ndhF/rpl32 and rpl32/trnL spacers) and two nuclear gene regions (the external and internal transcribed spacers). The resulting sequence data will be used to determine the evolutionary relationships among these four species and their close relatives, which will allow us to determine how many times gypsum adaptations have appeared within Mentzelia, will help reveal whether some of the gypsum Mentzelias have hybridized in the past, and will allow us to test whether any undescribed species may exist that have gone unrecognized until now.

Award

Science and Technology Research Opportunities for a New Generation (STRONG)

Project Mentor(s)

Michael Moore, Biology

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Oct 28th, 5:30 PM Oct 28th, 6:00 PM

The Phylogeny of Gypsum Endemic Plants in the Mentzelia Genus

Science Center, Bent Corridor

Gypsum, or calcium sulfate, is a type of soil that is very inhospitable to most plants due to its chemical composition. Despite this, there are many different species of plants that thrive on gypsum, including four species of the blazing star genus Mentzelia, that grow on no other substrate. Do all four gypsum Mentzelias share a common ancestry, or did they evolve independently to grow exclusively on gypsum? To understand the evolution of gypsum adaptations within these four species ( M. perennis, M. todiltoensis, M. humilis var. humilis and M. humilis var guadalupensis),I isolated DNA from around 20 populations from across all four species and sequenced DNA from two chloroplast gene regions (the ndhF/rpl32 and rpl32/trnL spacers) and two nuclear gene regions (the external and internal transcribed spacers). The resulting sequence data will be used to determine the evolutionary relationships among these four species and their close relatives, which will allow us to determine how many times gypsum adaptations have appeared within Mentzelia, will help reveal whether some of the gypsum Mentzelias have hybridized in the past, and will allow us to test whether any undescribed species may exist that have gone unrecognized until now.