Term of Award

Spring 2004

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Biology

Committee Chair

Lorne M. Wolfe

Committee Member 1

Daniel F. Gleason

Committee Member 2

Lissa Leege

Abstract

Biological invasions are now the second leading cause of loss of biodiversity. Recently, hybridization has been hypothesized as a mechanism for invasion success. The combination of individuals from different gene pools may create novel genotypes having increased invisibility. The goal of my research was to examine the role that intraspecific hybridization may play in invasion success by using the agricultural weed Silene latifolia as a model. I used a common garden experiment to examine whether crossing parents of different ancestry results in offspring with differing quality. Plants were pollinated in three treatments reflecting parent plants within the same population (P), between-populations, within-continent (R), and between continent (C). Plants which had been produced by mating plants located intermediate distances apart (R) germinated faster, and had a greater probability of germinating and surviving. This thesis contributes to our knowledge of the potential role hybridization may play in a successful invasion.

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