Event Title

Climatic Niche Variation in Pink and White Lady Slippers (Cypripedium acaule Aiton)

Faculty Sponsor(s)

Diana Jolles

Abstract

Cypripedium acaule flowers abundantly in the northeast yet there is still little known about genetic and morphological diversity of this orchid. The white-flowered form, C. acaule forma albiflorum, is currently treated as an allelic variant of the pink lady’s slipper, C. acaule forma acaule. We are interested in whether the white form represents a genetically diverging lineage, becoming reproductively isolated from the pink form. We hypothesized that pink- and white-flowered lady slippers have overlapping geographic ranges, but inhabit different climatic niches. Using occurrence data from iNaturalist (n=3,368) we generated species distribution models for each color form of C. acaule and quantified differences between these models. We found that most white-flowered plants occur in the northern part of the range of C. acaule and that the two forms differ somewhat with respect to climate preference. This model will benefit our larger study to quantify both (a) genetic variation and (b) flower color polymorphism across the range of C. acaule sensu lato. Studies of the genetic and ecological basis of color variation will better our understanding of speciation processes at a much larger scale.

Start Date

12-4-2019 12:00 PM

End Date

12-4-2019 1:00 PM

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Dec 4th, 12:00 PM Dec 4th, 1:00 PM

Climatic Niche Variation in Pink and White Lady Slippers (Cypripedium acaule Aiton)

Cypripedium acaule flowers abundantly in the northeast yet there is still little known about genetic and morphological diversity of this orchid. The white-flowered form, C. acaule forma albiflorum, is currently treated as an allelic variant of the pink lady’s slipper, C. acaule forma acaule. We are interested in whether the white form represents a genetically diverging lineage, becoming reproductively isolated from the pink form. We hypothesized that pink- and white-flowered lady slippers have overlapping geographic ranges, but inhabit different climatic niches. Using occurrence data from iNaturalist (n=3,368) we generated species distribution models for each color form of C. acaule and quantified differences between these models. We found that most white-flowered plants occur in the northern part of the range of C. acaule and that the two forms differ somewhat with respect to climate preference. This model will benefit our larger study to quantify both (a) genetic variation and (b) flower color polymorphism across the range of C. acaule sensu lato. Studies of the genetic and ecological basis of color variation will better our understanding of speciation processes at a much larger scale.