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By David Stamper, Biological Sciences
Advisor: Theresa Culley
Presentation ID: PM_ATRIUM28
Abstract: The absence of gene flow provides chances for populations to become isolated, which can lead to speciation. In plants, gene flow can be restricted through barriers to pollinators and seed dispersal. One way to test these barriers is to look at natural populations that have been historically isolated such as lanceleaf stonecrop, Sedum lanceolatum Torr. (Crassulaceae). Previous work showed considerable genetic variation across a broad geographic scale in the S. lanceolatum. However, we were more interested in barriers at the local scale and how they can hinder gene flow. In this study, we assessed genetic variation at a small, local scale in S. lanceolatum along Jumpingpound Ridge in Alberta, Canada. We looked at two populations separated by the spine of a ridge and another population divided by encroaching forest. We tested the hypothesis that the spine of a ridge and the forest can act as barriers to gene flow, resulting in distinctive genetic variation within these respective populations. Sequence related amplified polymorphisms (SRAPs) were used to assess genetic variability within and among these populations. These markers allow us to discriminate individuals based on banding patterns that were scored using gel electrophoresis. Ultimately, scoring these bands allows us to assess the effectiveness of these natural features as barriers to gene flow. Understanding how these natural barriers impact gene flow may advance our knowledge of how human made barriers impact gene flow between populations.