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Abstract Detail

Phytochemical Section

Sinka, Brittany [1], Majetic, Cassie [1].

The effects of fertilizer on floral scent of Phlox subulata.

Floral scent is one characteristic that has been shown to be important in the survival and reproduction of many plant species, due to its role in manipulating pollinator visitation and behavior. Environmental conditions such as temperature, pollution loads, and humidity have been known to alter floral scent emission patterns; altering floral odor phenotype could potentially change the types of pollinating visitors a plant can attract, and therefore plant reproductive success. However, few studies have explored whether these factors could cause measurable phenotypic plasticity in floral scent emission. This study explores the possibility that floral scent could be plastic in response to fertilization in the species Phlox subulata. Fertilizers often contain a significant amount of nitrogen compounds, which are used by plants to synthesize amino acids; benzenoid volatile compounds are derived from one specific amino acid, phenylalanine. Therefore, we predict that plants grown in high soil nitrogen conditions could produce more benzenoid compared to plants grown in low nitrogen conditions. Eight genotypes of Phlox subulata were divided into two groups: 4 plants of each genotype were treated with high-nitrogen fertilizer and 4 plants were treated with low-nitrogen fertilizer. Floral scent emission rates for several benzenoid compounds were then examined for evidence of phenotypic plasticity using reaction norm graphs and analysis of variance. Phlox subulata genototypes showed some phenotypic plasticity in response to change in soil nutrient levels. These results suggest that if floral scent is plastic in natural settings, changes in soil nitrogen levels could result in altered scent profiles. This could, in turn, alter pollinator visitation patterns and potentially plant fitness.

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1 - Saint Mary's College, Department of Biology, State Route 933, Notre Dame, IN, 46556, USA

phenotypic plasticity
Phlox subulata
floral odor

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Khorassan Ballroom/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PPT001
Abstract ID:150

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