Date of Award:

2013

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Wildland Resources

Advisor/Chair:

Eugene W. Schupp

Abstract

I investigated the pollination ecology ofHesperidanthus suffrutescens, an endangered Utah shrub, as well as the effects that road dust and local plant density may have on successful reproduction. The breeding system study included four pollination treatments to determine the degree of self-compatibility. Flower visitors were collected and probable pollinators were identified. To determine the effects of road dust on reproduction, I measured dust deposition, plant size, and reproduction in plots of increasing distance from an unpaved road. I also measured dust effects on pollination success and stomatal conductance. I determined the number of individuals per plot and the relative isolation of individuals, and measured their reproductive success to determine any significant effects. Reproduction was measured as total fruit set per plant as well as estimates of total plant seeds and plant seed weight (mg).

The results of the pollination treatments and the identity of pollinators are described in Chapter 2. Both autogamy and geitonogamy (selfing treatments) produced substantially and significantly fewer fruits, seeds, and seeds per fruit than xenogamy (outcrossing treatment). Additionally, outcrossed flowers produced significantly more fruits, seeds, and seeds per fruit than did open control flowers with no difference in mean seed weight. In total, 77 flower visitors were collected over the course of the study. Probable pollinators include severalAndrena,Halictus, andDialictusbees.

The effects of road dust on the reproductive success ofH. suffrutescensare discussed in Chapter 3. Dust deposition decreased with increased distance from the road and was significantly correlated with decreased fruit set for plants of a given size. Other reproductive metrics showed the same negative patterns although not significantly. The results suggest that dust may disrupt pollination and affect the physiology of plants, resulting in decreased reproduction. Dust deposition did not decrease pollination success of dusted flowers but did negatively impact stomatal conductance of leaves.

The main effects of patch size and relative isolation on reproductive success are discussed in Chapter 4. Both patch size and relative isolation had no significant impacts on reproductive success. Increased patch size did indicate negative patterns on reproductive metrics, although not significantly. Similarly, increased isolation indicated increased reproductive success, although not significantly.

Comments

This work made publicly available electronically on February 15, 2013.

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