Effects of Genetic and Environmental Variation in Solidago Altissima on Associated Arthropod Communities

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Megan Ann Avakian (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/
Ray Williams

Abstract: A common garden approach was used to assess the potential for genetic and environmental variation in a Solidago altissima population to structure an associated insect community and influence the colonization of a dominant herbivore species. Distinct S. altissima genotypes from four elevations (260 m, 585 m, 885 m, 1126 m) were planted in a common garden at the ASU Gilley Research Station. The insect community was quantified and leaves were collected to assess foliar metrics important to insects (e.g., Carbon:Nitrogen). Both host-plant genotype and environment affected insect community structure. Genotype, but not environment, affected colonization of a specialist aphid. Environmental variation affected insect community abundance, where plants from 885 m supported the highest number of insects. Plants from 885 m also had the highest nutritional quality and water content, providing a potential mechanism for observed insect community abundance patterns. These results suggest that small-scale genetic variation is more influential to specialist insect population dynamics, and large-scale environmental variation is more important to structuring the rest of the insect community.

Additional Information

Avakian, M.A. (2012). Effects of Genetic and Environmental Variation in Solidago Altissima on Associated Arthropod Communities. Unpublished master’s thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2012
Genetic variation, Environmental variation, Insect community, Community genetics, Community ecology

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