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From Phylogenetics To Host Plants: Molecular And Ecological Investigations Into The Native Urticaceae Of Hawai‘i

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Title:From Phylogenetics To Host Plants: Molecular And Ecological Investigations Into The Native Urticaceae Of Hawai‘i
Authors:Bogner, Kari
Contributors:Botany (department)
Date Issued:Dec 2017
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:The following study investigated the native Hawaiian Urticaceae in both an evolutionary
and ecological context. First, the phylogenetic relationships of the native Urticaceae were
determined using molecular DNA techniques. Second, the relationships between the native
Urticaceae and an endemic Hawaiian specialist herbivore, Vanessa tameamea (Lepidoptera,
Nymphalidae), were explored in order to assess variation among urticaceous species as host
plants.
The family Urticaceae has undergone several taxonomic revisions in the past two decades
as a result of molecular phylogenetic studies, although little phylogenetic attention has been paid
to the Urticaceae taxa native to Hawai‘i despite four species being federally endangered and the
presence of two endemic genera. Overall, results from the phylogenetic analysis using Bayesian
inference presented here revealed that taxonomic revisions to five of the seven nativerepresented
genera are necessary based on polyphyletic and paraphyletic relationships to other
genera. Further DNA analysis is suggested to elucidate species-level relationships for the native
species of Pipturus and several species of Neraudia. The analysis produced a well-supported,
monophyletic Hawaiian Urera/Touchardia clade, and it can be inferred that a single colonization
event, as opposed to the previously hypothesized two colonization events, led to the current three
extant species in this clade.
Results from a no-choice bioassay experiment revealed that V. tameamea performed best
on two native, but distantly related species, Urera glabra (tribe Urticeae) and Pipturus albidus
(tribe Boehmerieae). Additionally, caterpillars from both O‘ahu populations recognized and
readily ate the non-native C. obtusifolia, although caterpillars from Hawai‘i Island reared on this
plant diet did not recognize C. obtusifolia as a food source and subsequently died within their
first instar. No significant correlations were found between putative defense or nutritive leaf
traits and the metrics of performance. Thus, it remains unclear what factors underlie variation
among plant species in suitability as host plants for V. tameamea. The bioassay experiment
highlights the complex relationships between a herbivore and its host plants.
Description:M.S. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2017.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/62217
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: M.S. - Botany


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