Abstract Detail


Hastings, Cara [1], Bornstein, Allan [2], Smith, James [3].

Environmental Niche of Piper amalago, a widespread Neotropical Piper.

Although many lines of evidence are needed to test the monophyly of any species, two important pieces of evidence are the biological or environmental niche of the species and morphological traits of individuals.  Piper (Piperaceae) is a large genus but often lacks obvious morphological diversity as the inflorescences consist of flowers that are small and simple, reduced to carpels, stamens, and subtending bracts.  Section Enckea is a group of shrub-like pipers with 40+ species that occurs primarily within lower elevation forests in the Neotropics.  Previous studies recovered section Enckea as monophyletic, but analysis has been limited in the number of species included and the types of data analyzed.  Within section Enckea, there are several presumably widely distributed species with somewhat cryptic characteristics.  Perhaps the most widespread species is Piper amalago, which is ecologically important, has ethnobotanical value, and has demonstrated pharmacological properties.  Given the apparent extensive distribution of Piper amalago, as well as morphological similarities shared with other Neotropical pipers, the monophyly of Piper amalago is worth testing.  The three objectives of this study were 1) to assess the environmental characteristics associated with type specimens of Piper amalago and to evaluate the variation of these features over the entire distribution, 2) to determine if the morphology of Piper amalago varies with environmental variation, and 3) to determine if the environmental characteristics of suspected conspecific names are identical or similar.  This study paired verified Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) occurrence data for Piper section Enckea with WorldClim climate data and other spatial data to evaluate patterns associated with Piper amalago and similar species.  Bayesian models were used to evaluate spatial patterns within the occurrence data and environmental niche modeling was used to determine if the habitat of Piper amalago can predict the habitat of similar species and suspected synonyms.  Morphological data were measured from scanned herbarium images and analyzed for differences corresponding to spatial patterns.  These data represent the first step in testing monophyly of widespread Piper species in section Enckea and will be used to help inform future phylogeographic analyses.

1 - Boise State University, Biology, 1910 University Drive, Mail Stop: 1515, Boise, ID, 83725, United States
2 - Southeast Missouri State University, One University Plaza, Rhodes Hall 209, Cape Girardeau, MO, 63701, United States
3 - BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY, Department Of Biological Sciences, 1910 University Drive, Ms1515, Boise, ID, 83725, United States

Ecological niche modeling
species delimitation

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P, Biogeography Posters
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2020
Time: 5:00 PM Time and date to be determined
Number: PBG006
Abstract ID:579
Candidate for Awards:None

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