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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Paris, Kyle [1], Boyd, Robert [2], Burgess, Kevin [3], Wright, Amy [4].

Reproductive attrition of the federally endangered Clematis morefieldii.

Reproductive attrition studies document the status of flower buds through time. By determining how successful flower buds are at producing fruit, such studies can ultimately aid land managers in the development of conservation strategies for endangered species. This study focuses on reproductive attrition in Clematis morefieldii at The Nature Conservancy owned Keel Mountain Preserve in Madison County, AL. To document fruit production and identify potential pre-dispersal reproductive bottlenecks, the status of all flower buds on 40 study plants was tracked throughout the growing season during three field seasons (2009, 2010, and 2011). Results indicate that C. morefieldii may be experiencing severe bottlenecks during fruit production, in part attributed to herbivory. Out of all flower buds produced, 29% were destroyed by herbivores in 2009, 70% in 2010, and 54% in 2011. In particular, buds in the earliest stage of development had the highest rate of attrition: 43% in 2009, 59% in 2010, and 53% in 2011 with at least 15%, 49%, and 38% being destroyed by herbivores in 2009, 2010, and 2011, respectively. Over the course of this study relatively few buds actually produced mature fruit, with only 12% of total buds successful in 2009, 5% in 2010, and 13% in 2011. The major herbivore contributing to this profound lack of reproductive success appears to be an unidentified lepidopteran larva which consumes flower buds in all stages. This study highlights how floral herbivory can create substantial pre-dispersal reproductive bottlenecks in endangered C.morefieldii populations and demonstrates how reproductive attrition studies can allow managers to better understand the factors limiting fruit production in endangered plant species.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - 500 Webster Rd Lot 207, Auburn, AL, 36832, USA
2 - Auburn University, Department Of Biological Sciences, 101 LIFE SCIENCES BLDG, AUBURN UNIVERSITY, AL, 36849-5407, USA
3 - Columbus State University, Biology, 4225 University Ave., Columbus, GA, USA
4 - Auburn University, Horticulture, 101 Funchess Hall, Auburn University, AL, 36849, USA

none specified

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Topics
Session: P
Location: Battelle South/Convention Center
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2012
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PCB003
Abstract ID:477

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