Hybridization and genetic variation in arctic grasses: molecular, morphological and ecological evidence.

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: biology, vegetation, botany, genetics, species identification, hybridization

Principal Investigator: Gillespie, Lynn J. (6)
Licence Number: 12931
Organization: Canadian Museum of Nature
Licensed Year(s): 1997 1995 1994
Issued: Aug 01, 1997
Project Team: Laurie Consaul

Objective(s): This study will examine hybridization and genetic variation in the Arctic grass genera Poa and Puccinellia using molecular techniques. By analyzing and comparing the DNA of different species we can study which grasses are distinct species and which a re hybrids or crosses between two different species. This helps us to define species among grasses, to understand their relationships and to study their origin. Poa and Puccinellia are important genera ecologically since they include indicator species of disturbed environments. Our research will also aid us in writing guides and updating an interactive computer key for the identification of arctic grasses.

Project Description: We plan to collect living plants, 6-10 plants of each species from each collection site. In addition, several plants of each species will be pressed and dried as voucher specimens to be used to check the identification. Photographs of the plants and their habitats will be made in the field and will be used for both research and teaching purposes. Upon our return to Ottawa the plant material will be frozen prior to DNA extraction. The variation in DNA among different populations and species throughout the Canadian Arctic will be analyzed to study species relationships and hybridization events.