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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pullman, Washington » Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #389424

Research Project: Management of Priority Legume, Oilseed, Vegetable, Forage Grass, Sugar, Ornamental, and Medicinal Plant Genetic Resources and Associated Information

Location: Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Research

Title: Using climate-driven adaptive evolution to guide seed sourcing for restoration in a diverse North American herb-shrub species

item JOHNSON, RICHARD - Retired ARS Employee
item LOVE, STEPHEN - University Of Idaho
item Carver Jr, Daniel
item Irish, Brian

Submitted to: Restoration Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/19/2022
Publication Date: 12/21/2022
Citation: Johnson, R., Love, S., Carver Jr., D.P., Irish, B.M. 2022. Using climate-driven adaptive evolution to guide seed sourcing for restoration in a diverse North American herb-shrub species. Restoration Ecology. 31(4). Article e13856.

Interpretive Summary: Western landscapes are increasingly impacted by natural and human-caused disturbances that require plant restoration. To succeed, restoration should utilize plant material adapted to local environments. Unfortunately, information on diversity and adaptative traits for many native U.S. plants species is lacking. We addressed this deficiency in sulphur-flower buckwheat, a key forb in Western landscapes. A large group of plant populations collected from diverse locations across the inter-mountain West were compared in field trails. Results showed that plant traits among populations were highly diverse and linked to seed source climates, indicating local adaptive evolution. Based on these results, large representative ecogeographical areas (seed zones) were defined in which seeds are more likely adapted. These demarcated areas will help guide land managers and ecologists in sourcing sulphur-flower buckwheat seed for restoration activities.

Technical Abstract: Seeds zones are bounded geographic areas to guide seed sourcing for landscape scale restoration. Yet seed zones based on plant adaptative traits are lacking for most restoration species. Sulfur-flower buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum Torr) includes herbs, subshrubs, and shrubs adapted to a range of ecological regions within North America. Its widespread occurrence and diversity make it a suitable model species to explore seed zone development based on evolutionary plant adaptations. Within a common garden, 69 populations from diverse seed sources and 13 taxonomic varieties were evaluated for 17 phenological, morphological, and production traits in 2016 and 2017. Analyses of variance showed taxonomic varieties and seed source locations differed for all plant traits. Linear correlation revealed source locations with warmer mean temperature and more precipitation generally had later phenology, larger umbels, more leaf area, higher leaf dry weight, and more seed and shoot dry weight production. Canonical correlation strongly linked seed source climates at source locations with plant traits evaluated in the common garden, suggesting climate driven adaptive evolution. Canonical variates 1 and 2, explaining 60% of the variation, were used to develop regression models that predicted their values from climate variables across the study area. Using geographic information technology these were mapped into 12 seed zones representing 1.31 million km2 in the Western U.S. These zones were designed to provide guidance to practitioners when sourcing sulphur-flower buckwheat for restoration projects. We expect this methodology can be successfully applied to other species to develop seed zones based on adaptive evolution.