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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Linking Pollinator Behavior to Gene Flow to Reduce Gene Flow Risk over the Landscape

Location: Vegetable Crops Research Unit

Project Number: 3655-21000-054-06
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Sep 01, 2013
End Date: Aug 31, 2017

Objective:
The ultimate goal of this proposal is to develop and validate a model of gene flow by insect pollinators at the landscape level. The specific objectives of this project are (1) To determine the features of the landscape that affect pollinator movements for distinct pollinators; (2) To develop a simulation-based model using the empirical information collected in (1); and (3) To validate the model using empirically collected gene flow data in distinct landscapes.

Approach:
Pollinator movements by distinct pollinators in contrasting landscapes will be measured experimentally in alfalfa, an outcrossed insect-pollinated perennial crop, to determine how pollinator movements are affected by pollinator type and landscape characteristics (objective 1). Analyses of these data will identify the main factors that influence pollinator movements and such information will be used in model development (objective 2). The simulation-based model uses an approach developed by Levey et al. (Science 2005 309: 146-148; J. Ecol. 2008 96: 599-608) who demonstrated that behavior observed at a local scale can be used to adequately predict dispersal at a landscape scale. Pollinator movements will be simulated and combined with data on pollen deposition and subsequent seed development to examine pollen dispersal and gene flow in different landscapes (objective 2). Lastly, gene flow will be measured experimentally for distinct pollinators in different landscapes to validate the model (objective 3).

Last Modified: 8/27/2014
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