Event Title

4 in 1: Uncovering Hidden Species within Tiquilia palmeri

Location

Virtual presentation

Document Type

Presentation

Start Date

4-27-2020 8:00 AM

End Date

5-2-2020 5:00 PM

Abstract

Tiquilia is comprised of approximately 30 species of herbs and small shrubs, all of which can be found in the desert regions of North and South America. Tiquilia palmeri grows in the Sonoran Desert and has been found to be variable in its growth form, flower color, and sepals. An earlier study of the evolutionary history of Tiquilia demonstrated the surprising presence of two distinct groups of T. palmeri populations in Arizona and California that may represent undescribed species. However, this study did not include any populations from Mexico. We aim to test whether these truly are undescribed species and to understand the evolutionary history of T. palmeri more completely by including Mexican populations. To explore this, we isolated DNA from 45 populations of T. palmeri growing throughout its range. We then sequenced the DNA of the nuclear ITS region and the chloroplast rps16 region, and reconstructed phylogenetic trees showing the relationships among populations of T. palmeri. The resulting trees showed far more diversity than originally expected. We found that within T. palmeri, there are at least 4 clades that appear to be morphologically and evolutionarily distinctive. This strongly suggests that what has been considered to be T. palmeri is actually several unrecognized species. With this new information we can now take steps towards future protection and conservation of these species.

Keywords:

Tiquilia palmeri, Species, ITS, rps16, Sequencing DNA

Notes

Click here to view this poster at the Office of Undergraduate Research website from April 27-May 2, 2020.

Major

Biology

Project Mentor(s)

Michael J. Moore, Biology

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Apr 27th, 8:00 AM May 2nd, 5:00 PM

4 in 1: Uncovering Hidden Species within Tiquilia palmeri

Virtual presentation

Tiquilia is comprised of approximately 30 species of herbs and small shrubs, all of which can be found in the desert regions of North and South America. Tiquilia palmeri grows in the Sonoran Desert and has been found to be variable in its growth form, flower color, and sepals. An earlier study of the evolutionary history of Tiquilia demonstrated the surprising presence of two distinct groups of T. palmeri populations in Arizona and California that may represent undescribed species. However, this study did not include any populations from Mexico. We aim to test whether these truly are undescribed species and to understand the evolutionary history of T. palmeri more completely by including Mexican populations. To explore this, we isolated DNA from 45 populations of T. palmeri growing throughout its range. We then sequenced the DNA of the nuclear ITS region and the chloroplast rps16 region, and reconstructed phylogenetic trees showing the relationships among populations of T. palmeri. The resulting trees showed far more diversity than originally expected. We found that within T. palmeri, there are at least 4 clades that appear to be morphologically and evolutionarily distinctive. This strongly suggests that what has been considered to be T. palmeri is actually several unrecognized species. With this new information we can now take steps towards future protection and conservation of these species.