Publications by EEOB faculty to 15 April 2014

April 15, 2014

Penstemon debilis (Plantaginaceae)

Conservation genetics and breeding system of Penstemon debilis (Plantaginaceae), a rare beardtongue endemic to oil shale talus in western Colorado, USA

Andrea D. Wolfe, Amy Mcmullen-Sibul, V. J. Tepedino, Laura Kubatko, Timothy Necamp and Susan Fassnacht. 2014. Journal of Systematics and Evolution in press. DOI: 10.1111/jse.12100

Abstract Rare species of plants are especially vulnerable to extinction when populations are few, have small numbers of individuals, and are fragmented. Such conditions lead to a reduction in gene flow and genetic diversity, and encourage inbreeding depression. We conducted a study of the reproductive biology and population genetics of Penstemon debilis (Plantaginaceae), a Federally Threatened species endemic to a small region of oil shale extraction in western Colorado, USA. Most of the habitat area is privately owned and undergoing natural gas extraction activities. Penstemon debilis reproduces both vegetatively and as an outcrosser that requires a pollen vector. Moderate levels of inbreeding, but no inbreeding depression, were found within populations of P. debilis. Genetic divergence among the extant populations surveyed was moderate (FST values = 0.069–0.231; Nm = 0.831–3.385) with levels of genetic diversity within populations relatively low compared to congeners with similar modes of pollination and reproductive biology. STRUCTURE analysis revealed three population clusters with some admixture among all extant populations. Genetic diversity within and among P. debilis populations is similar to genetic diversity found for other rare and endemic outcrossing plant species. Our results are consistent with a pattern of recent population fragmentation or low levels of pollen-mediated gene flow among populations in close proximity to one another. Conservation of P. debilis will require cooperative management strategies between private land owners, government agencies, and concerned NGOs to preserve habitat for this rare species.

Wolfe lab


Effects of land use on sources and ages of inorganic and organic carbon in temperate headwater streams

Yue Han Lu, James E. Bauer, Elizabeth A. Canuel, R. M. Chambers, Youhei Yamashita, Rudolf Jaffé, Amy Barrett. 2014. Biogeochemistry in press. DOI: 10.1007/s10533-014-9965-2

Abstract The amounts, sources and relative ages of inorganic and organic carbon pools were assessed in eight headwater streams draining watersheds dominated by either forest, pasture, cropland or urban development in the lower Chesapeake Bay region (Virginia, USA). Streams were sampled at baseflow conditions six different times over 1 year. The sources and ages of the carbon pools were characterized by isotopic (δ13C and ∆14C) analyses and excitation emission matrix fluorescence with parallel factor analysis (EEM–PARAFAC). The findings from this study showed that human land use may alter aquatic carbon cycling in three primary ways. First, human land use affects the sources and ages of DIC by controlling different rates of weathering and erosion. Relative to dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) in forested streams which originated primarily from respiration of young, 14C-enriched organic matter (OM; δ13C = −22.2 ± 3 ‰; ∆14C = 69 ± 14 ‰), DIC in urbanized streams was influenced more by sedimentary carbonate weathering (δ13C = −12.4 ± 1 ‰; ∆14C = −270 ± 37 ‰) and one of pasture streams showed a greater influence from young soil carbonates (δ13C = −5.7 ± 2.5 ‰; ∆14C = 69 ‰). Second, human land use alters the proportions of terrestrial versus autochthonous/microbial sources of stream water OM. Fluorescence properties of dissolved OM (DOM) and the C:N of particulate OM (POM) suggested that streams draining human-altered watersheds contained greater relative contributions of DOM and POM from autochthonous/microbial sources than forested streams. Third, human land uses can mobilize geologically aged inorganic carbon and enable its participation in contemporary carbon cycling. Aged DOM (∆14C = −248 to −202 ‰, equivalent 14C ages of 1,811–2,284 years BP) and POM (∆14C = −90 to −88 ‰, 14C ages of 669–887 years BP) were observed exclusively in urbanized streams, presumably a result of autotrophic fixation of aged DIC (−297 to −244 ‰, 14C age = 2,251–2,833 years BP) from sedimentary shell dissolution and perhaps also watershed export of fossil fuel carbon. This study demonstrates that human land use may have significant impacts on the amounts, sources, ages and cycling of carbon in headwater streams and their associated watersheds.

Bauer lab