Connor O'Neill-Dee Denison University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Andrew McCall Denison UniversityPhenotypic selection refers to the mechanisms of natural or sexual selection operating through variations in fitness associated with a phenotype or combinations of phenotypes. Phenotypic selection can vary both spatially and temporally. Our study aims to follow multiple populations of Lindera benzoin in Ohio over a long period of time in an attempt to quantify phenotypic traits that might lead to increased female fitness as defined by fruit production. Lindera benzoin is a dioecious understory shrub commonly found in eastern North America that has a relatively long lifespan (5-20 years). Given that it is found over a large geographic range, and lives for a long time, it serves as an ideal study organism for our research. To collect our data, we established 5 study sites across Ohio in the summer of 2015, containing populations of at least 30 individuals of Lindera benzoin. We measured traits such as vegetative growth, herbivory damage, and plant nitrogen content in attempt to see if these variables were correlated to increased fruit production. Our findings from the summer of 2015 indicate that larger plants yielded more fruit, and that plants with higher nitrogen content also yielded more fruit. We observed a drop off in fruit production in 2016, and are still attempting to investigate why this occurred. Therefore, in order to understand how fruit production may vary temporally, we will monitor these populations for the foreseeable future in order to grow our dataset and make more informed conclusions.
When & Where
Jordan Hall 172