Hannah Tavalire ACF Abstract FY10

"Genetic Impacts on Invasive Potential: A Pilot Study in Myriophyllum Species"

Conference Name: Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE), the Society of Systematic Biologists (SSB), and the American Society of Naturalists (ASN) Joint Annual Meeting: Evolution 2010

Many studies and conceptual papers cite hybridization prior to introduction as a stimulus for the evolution of invasiveness.  The question then becomes whether hybrid genotypes are ‘more invasive’ than non-hybrid genotypes and what role hybridization plays in invasion. Within the Myriophyllum heterophyllum (variable-leaf milfoil-VLM) system, several genotypes from different sources have invaded the Northeast United States, one of which is an interspecific hybrid (M. heterophyllum x M. laxum).  These introduced lineages are remaining distinct and seem to, anecdotally, exhibit different growth patterns.   My research will use a combination of experimental and observational studies to answer the following questions in the VLM system: (1) Is there a genetic basis for invasive growth? And (2) Are the hybrids heterotic?  Here I will present the results of a pilot study and how these findings tie into my thesis research.