Inbreeding and decline in plant fitness

Year: 2017
Project Description:

There are several factor that may lead to a population’s extinction, one of these is inbreeding depression. Inbreeding depression is the reduction in fitness within a population as a result of inbreeding. This is a major issue in conservation because the negative effects of inbreeding depression affect all aspects of reproduction.

This project focuses on identifying life-history traits which might increase the chances of any population being impacted by inbreeding depression. To do this we are focusing on groups of species within the Onagraceae family. We will look at how the reduction of fitness relates to differences in mating system and differences in the predominant pollinator.  The intern in this project will be working on different plant traits experiments and gaining experience in different aspects of plant biology, including (but not limited) to seed germination, plant morphology, fruit and seed measurement, chromosome visualization and controlled crosses to increase inbreeding.

Chicago Botanic Garden
Fieldwork Conditions: