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The ecology and evolution of armament defense variation in African acacias

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Material Information

Title:
The ecology and evolution of armament defense variation in African acacias
Physical Description:
1 online resource (-1 p.)
Language:
english
Creator:
Gittinger, Megan C
Publisher:
University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date:

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Doctorate ( Ph.D.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Zoology, Biology
Committee Chair:
Palmer, Todd
Committee Members:
Hauser, Bernard A
Soltis, Pamela S
Mcauslane, Heather J
Augustine, David J

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
acacia -- africa -- defense -- plant -- savanna
Biology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre:
Zoology thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract:
Plants have little option but to stand their ground in the face of herbivores. To counter these attackers, plants have equipped themselves with a range of defenses commensurate with the diversity of herbivores.Extensive research on defensive chemistry among plants has been key in revealing their adaptive nature, however we know relatively less about the ecology and evolution of structural defense traits such as armament. Plant armaments such as spines and prickles are widespread among plants. While these traits are widely accepted as effective defenses against large vertebrate herbivores, it is less clear why armament exhibits such marked variation. The central focus of this research was to improve our understanding of the factors that drive variation in armament using African acacias as model taxa. I show that spine traits can show strong relationships with plant size in Vachellia etbaica, and that these plants are capable of altering spine form and size in response to herbivory. I also tested the defensive function of spine variation in feeding trials with two different-sized vertebrate herbivores, and found that spine form but not length had significant effects on biomass loss against both herbivores. In addition to examining ecological variation, I assessed evolutionary patterns of spine defenses in African Vachellia. Based on the constructed molecular phylogeny, spine form and domatia appear to have evolved multiple times within the clade, indicating convergence of these structural defense traits. Finally, I synthesize our current knowledge of the armament traits and develop future research avenues that will improve our understanding of armament defenses as well as broadly inform ecological and evolutionary defense theories.
General Note:
In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note:
Includes vita.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description:
Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description:
This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Megan C Gittinger.
Thesis:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2013.
Local:
Adviser: Palmer, Todd.
Electronic Access:
RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2015-08-31

Record Information

Source Institution:
UFRGP
Rights Management:
Applicable rights reserved.
Classification:
lcc - LD1780 2013
System ID:
UFE0045329:00001

MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
The ecology and evolution of armament defense variation in African acacias
Physical Description:
1 online resource (-1 p.)
Language:
english
Creator:
Gittinger, Megan C
Publisher:
University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date:

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Doctorate ( Ph.D.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Zoology, Biology
Committee Chair:
Palmer, Todd
Committee Members:
Hauser, Bernard A
Soltis, Pamela S
Mcauslane, Heather J
Augustine, David J

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
acacia -- africa -- defense -- plant -- savanna
Biology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre:
Zoology thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract:
Plants have little option but to stand their ground in the face of herbivores. To counter these attackers, plants have equipped themselves with a range of defenses commensurate with the diversity of herbivores.Extensive research on defensive chemistry among plants has been key in revealing their adaptive nature, however we know relatively less about the ecology and evolution of structural defense traits such as armament. Plant armaments such as spines and prickles are widespread among plants. While these traits are widely accepted as effective defenses against large vertebrate herbivores, it is less clear why armament exhibits such marked variation. The central focus of this research was to improve our understanding of the factors that drive variation in armament using African acacias as model taxa. I show that spine traits can show strong relationships with plant size in Vachellia etbaica, and that these plants are capable of altering spine form and size in response to herbivory. I also tested the defensive function of spine variation in feeding trials with two different-sized vertebrate herbivores, and found that spine form but not length had significant effects on biomass loss against both herbivores. In addition to examining ecological variation, I assessed evolutionary patterns of spine defenses in African Vachellia. Based on the constructed molecular phylogeny, spine form and domatia appear to have evolved multiple times within the clade, indicating convergence of these structural defense traits. Finally, I synthesize our current knowledge of the armament traits and develop future research avenues that will improve our understanding of armament defenses as well as broadly inform ecological and evolutionary defense theories.
General Note:
In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note:
Includes vita.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description:
Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description:
This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Megan C Gittinger.
Thesis:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2013.
Local:
Adviser: Palmer, Todd.
Electronic Access:
RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2015-08-31

Record Information

Source Institution:
UFRGP
Rights Management:
Applicable rights reserved.
Classification:
lcc - LD1780 2013
System ID:
UFE0045329:00001


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