Dudle, Dana , Sawrey, Olivia , Lord, Janice .
Abiotic influences on anthocyanin expression and floral color in the New Zealand alpine herb, Wahlenbergia albomarginata.
Flowers of Wahlenbergia albomarginata (Campanulaceae) vary from pale blue to bright white in natural populations, while the leaves vary from green to red. Pollinator preference does not explain the maintenance of floral color variation in W. albomarginata. However, because anthocyanins are responsible for both floral and foliar color, indirect selection on foliar pigments might help explain the persistence of pale blue flowers in this species (Campbell et al. 2012). Foliar anthocyanins often confer a photoprotective advantage to plants exposed to abiotic stressors. We investigated the influence of environmental stressors such as excess light, soil moisture, and high altitude on anthocyanin content in the leaves of W. albomarginata, and tested whether foliar anthocyanins co-vary with floral color across environments. Patterns of anthocyanin concentration in the rosettes conformed to our predictions. Anthocyanin expression in leaves is highly plastic, and plants in dry, exposed sites produce significantly more anthocyanins in their leaves than those growing under wet, shady conditions. The relationship between floral color variation and environmental stressors is more complex. Expression of floral anthocyanins is not strongly correlated with rosette anthocyanins, suggesting that selection for red leaves in harsh environments would not fully explain the maintenance of pale blue flowers in W. albomarginata.
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1 - DEPAUW UNIVERSITY, Department Of Biology, 114 Olin Hall Of Biological Sciences, 1 E. Hanna Street, GREENCASTLE, IN, 46135, USA
2 - University of Otago, Department of Botany, 464 Great King Street, Dunedin, 9016, New Zealand
floral color variation
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Topics
Location: Battelle South/Convention Center
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2012
Time: 5:30 PM