Abstract Detail


Kwon, Youl [1], Melton, Anthony [2], Soltis, Pamela [3], Soltis, Douglas [3].

Ecological Niche Models for species of the genus Rhexia (Melastomataceae).

Rhexia (Melastomataceae) comprises 11 species endemic to the southeastern United States. The geographical range for individual species varies considerably, with many species having partially overlapping distributions. A striking feature of Rhexia is the apparent similarity of observed habitats among species. Several species of Rhexia are also hypothesized to be hybrids or allopolyploids. However, how abiotic niche space varies across Rhexia species and the extent to which habitats overlap is unknown. In this study, we used environmental variables (current bioclimatic variables and soil data layers) to model species distributions and ecological niches for all species of Rhexia with the following questions: (1) What are the general patterns of niche distribution in Rhexia? (2) How does the niche of R. nashii, a putative allopolyploid species, compare to its hypothesized parents? Finally, (3) What will be the potential impact of climate change on the future distributions of the endangered Rhexia species (R. parviflora, and R. salicifolia)? We used locality information gathered from numerous data aggregators (iDigBio, GBIF) and also from regional herbaria to create a niche model for each species of Rhexia. The species differed considerably in niche breadth and geographic distribution of suitable habitat. For example, projection of the model for the most broadly distributed species, R. virginica, extends from eastern Texas to Maine. In contrast, suitable habitat for R. salicifolia and R. parviflora is confined to the Florida panhandle and coastal areas from Alabama to Louisiana. The degree of niche overlap among species pairs varied from 0.15 (R. aristosa and R. salicifolia) to 0.8 (R. cubensis and R. nuttallii). Rhexia nashii, a putative allopolyploid species, shares suitable habitat with both of its hypothesized parents, R. mariana and R. virginica, but with greater similarity to that of R. mariana. Our future projections of ecological niche of the endangered species, R. salicifolia and R. parviflora, suggest a decrease in suitable habitat in both species.

1 - 8166 SW 74th Ln, Gainesville, FL, 32608, United States
2 - University Of Florida, Biology Dept, 4410 NW 31st Terr, Gainesville, FL, 32605, United States
3 - University Of Florida, Florida Museum Of Natural History, Dickinson Hall, Gainesville, FL, 32611, United States
4 - University Of Florida, Florida Museum Of Natural History, Dickinson Hall, Gainesville, FL, 32611, United States

Ecological niche modeling
Species distributions
climate change.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: ECO4, Ecology 4: Vegetation and Community Ecology
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Thursday, July 30th, 2020
Time: 11:00 AM
Number: ECO4005
Abstract ID:515
Candidate for Awards:Ecological Section Best Graduate Student Paper

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