Allington, Rebecca , Martine, Christopher .
Phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequences leads to discovery of a previously unknown population of an uncommon, yet widespread, Australian spiny Solanum .
Australia is home to about 120 Solanum species, many of them poorly understood and/or rare; and experts in the group believe that numerous species are yet to be discovered. Recently, field work in Australia's Northern Territory has raised questions about the relationships among currently-described species of Australian Solanum. One problematic species is Solanum carduiforme, a dioecious shrub known to prefer rocky outcrops and sandstone formations. This species is only known from a few limited collections and all recorded populations appear to have a disjunctive distribution that runs from far-eastern Western Australia all the way to the western edge of Queensland, with a large gap in range over much of the Northern Territory. In hopes of resolving the peculiar distribution of Solanum carduiforme, two unidentified specimens of plants with similar characteristics to S. carduiforme recently collected by botanists on the coast of the Northern Territory are being examined via phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data. Using bioinformatics tools such as BLAST, McClade, PAUP and Mesquite the study seeks to conclude whether or not the unknown Solanum specimens represent S.carduiforme making the species distribution more continuous and less fragmented.The identification of a new population of S.carduiforme will help to better define the particular affinity the species has for specific geologic structures such as sandstone formations. Thus,compiling data on surface geology of Australia could help to locate other hidden populations that might provide future sampling opportunities to expand the currently-known distribution and, importantly, assist in conserving populations of this rare species across its range.
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1 - SUNY Plattsburgh, Dept Of Biological Sciences, 101 Broad St, Plattsburgh, NY, 12901, USA
2 - Bucknell University, Biology, One Dent Drive, Lewisburg, PA, 17837, USA
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Location: Battelle South/Convention Center
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2012
Time: 5:30 PM