Abstract Title

Evaluating the Influence of Genotype and Ploidy Level on Gall Abundance and Diversity of Big Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) Across an Ecotone

Additional Funding Sources

This project was made possible by the NSF Idaho EPSCoR Program and by the National Science Foundation under Award No. OIA-1757324.

Abstract

Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) is a widespread and threatened sagebrush species in western North America that is declining throughout the west. Big sagebrush supports a wide array of galls, formed by several different plant feeding gall midges (Cecidomyiidae). The factors driving gall abundance and diversity have not been studied in detail for the family Artemisia, and this study will evaluate how ploidy level, subspecies and hybridization may affect or drive the high diversity of gall formations in big sagebrush. Gall samples were quantified and collected across 4 plots along an ecotone spanning 1630 — 1850 m of elevation at Castle Rocks state park located in southern Idaho in June of 2021. Galls were evaluated for 20 plants per plot and the abundance of each morphotype per plant was classified as 0-5, 5-15, 15-25 or >25 galls. They have been sorted by general morphotype, location, and site number. Additionally, these galls were preserved for laboratory rearing to identify the gall midge or other arthropod that emerges from each gall morphotype. Comparing this data to the genetic data collected to estimate ploidy level and detect subspecies and hybrids will provide more insight to the mechanisms behind gall diversity in big sagebrush.

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Evaluating the Influence of Genotype and Ploidy Level on Gall Abundance and Diversity of Big Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) Across an Ecotone

Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) is a widespread and threatened sagebrush species in western North America that is declining throughout the west. Big sagebrush supports a wide array of galls, formed by several different plant feeding gall midges (Cecidomyiidae). The factors driving gall abundance and diversity have not been studied in detail for the family Artemisia, and this study will evaluate how ploidy level, subspecies and hybridization may affect or drive the high diversity of gall formations in big sagebrush. Gall samples were quantified and collected across 4 plots along an ecotone spanning 1630 — 1850 m of elevation at Castle Rocks state park located in southern Idaho in June of 2021. Galls were evaluated for 20 plants per plot and the abundance of each morphotype per plant was classified as 0-5, 5-15, 15-25 or >25 galls. They have been sorted by general morphotype, location, and site number. Additionally, these galls were preserved for laboratory rearing to identify the gall midge or other arthropod that emerges from each gall morphotype. Comparing this data to the genetic data collected to estimate ploidy level and detect subspecies and hybrids will provide more insight to the mechanisms behind gall diversity in big sagebrush.