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Title: Does pollen "neighborhood" affect yield in lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium Ait.)?

item Bell, Daniel
item Rowland, Lisa
item DRUMMOND, FRANCIS - University Of Maine

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2010
Publication Date: 7/25/2010
Citation: Bell, D.J., Rowland, L.J., Drummond, F.A. 2010. Does pollen "neighborhood" affect yield in lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium Ait.)?. Meeting Abstract. 2010:p.38.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Proximally growing individuals of wild, lowbush blueberry vary widely in yield despite being cultivated under similar environmental conditions. We recently established that the relative self-fertility of the bearing plant is a significant predictor of its outcross yield. Further, although the species has historically been characterized as largely self-infertile, we documented large variation in this trait among individuals within fields. Thus relative self-fertility provides a partial explanation of yield variation. Here we extend the scope of our studies by experimentally addressing whether pollen neighborhood affects yield. Lowbush blueberry is not sown, rather individuals have colonized fields by natural processes. Commercial fields of lowbush, however, are generally pollinated by rented honey bees, which tend to pollinate nearby flowers. Our hypothesis is that clones may be situated in differentially suitable pollen environments. We identified two high and two low natural yielders from each of two managed fields and collected pollen mixes from five donors surrounding each (n=8). Under field conditions, each recipient received four pollination treatments including its own neighborhood and the other three donor neighborhoods within the same field. Results showed that the lowest producer in each field had significantly higher yields when pollinated by any but their own neighborhood. Currently, we are using EST-PCR molecular markers to estimate the average genetic similarity of these donor groups to each pollen recipient. Finally, we are rearing open pollinated progeny from seed from each of the pollen recipients in order to model gene flow (paternity analysis) using SSR markers generated from our EST libraries.