Leveraging the use of herbarium collections in modern systematics—examples from Pteridology
Sigel, Erin M. , Windham, Michael D. , Pryer , Kathleen M. .
Using spore data to infer ploidy and reproductive mode in land plants.
Herbaria are rich storehouses of morphological information on plants. This includes various kinds of spore data, obtained through microscopic examination of herbarium specimens. Spore data are invaluable for addressing some of the most basic questions in plant systematics. In many land plant lineages, for example, spore size provides critical information on ploidy, which has a strong influence on gene flow and speciation. And within leptosporangiate ferns, spore number per sporangium can often be used to infer reproductive mode, which tells us a great deal about breeding system, genetic variability and evolutionary potential. Here we revisit the utility of spore data beginning with a brief survey of previous research incorporating spore number and size data across a broad range of lycophyte and fern taxa from Isoetes to Polypodium. Turning our attention to recent work in our lab at Duke, we focus on studies of the cheilanthoid ferns, xeric adapted members of the Pteridaceae. Examples from Argyrochosma, Astrolepis, and Cheilanthes illustrate some of the insights gained from considering spore and molecular data in concert. Expanding beyond ferns, we demonstrate how similar techniques are being applied across a variety of land plant lineages. Whether differentiating diploid from polyploid individuals, detecting cryptic taxa, explaining anomalous placement of taxa in molecular phylogenies, or resolving reticulate complexes, the combination of spore and molecular data is shown to be a powerful tool in plant research.
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1 - Duke University, Department of Biology, 139 Biological Sciences Building, PO Box 90338, Durham, North Carolina, 27708, USA
2 - Duke University, Department of Biology, 139 Biological Sciences Building, PO Box 90338, Durham, North Carolina, 27708, USA
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: Ballroom C/Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Time: 10:40 AM