Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Environmental Studies

First Advisor's Name

Hong Liu

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Michael Ross

Third Advisor's Name

Joel Heinen

Fourth Advisor's Name

Suzanne Koptur

Keywords

breeding system, Ceratina cognata, Geodorum eulophioides, Geodorum densiflorum, Geodorum recurvum, ground orchid, plant conservation, pollination, species rarity, sympatric species, natural hybridization

Date of Defense

3-22-2012

Abstract

Comparative studies on endangered species and their more common congeners can shed light on the mechanism of species rarity, and enable conservationists to formulate effective management strategies. I compared the breeding and pollination systems of the endangered Geodorum eulophioides and its two more common sympatric congeners in subtropical China. Geodorum eulophioides and G. recurvum were self-compatible, both depending on Ceratina cognata for fruit production, while G. densiflorum can autonomously self. Although the floral visitation frequency of G. eulophioides was the highest among the three, its natural fruit set was similar to that of G. recurvum, but both lower than that of G. densiflorum. These results partially explain the difference in species abundance. Coupled with severe habitat loss and degradation, the extremely low pollinator visitation and natural fruit set of G. eulophioides calls for rapid establishment of ex-situ collection, in conjunction with improving in-situ habitat. Natural hybridization tendencies were also studied among species.

Identifier

FI12041906

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