Term of Award

Spring 2006

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

C. Ray Chandler

Committee Member 2

Lissa M . Leege

Abstract

A fundamental question in evolutionary ecology is how species adjust post colonization. The plant Silene latifolia was introduced to North America (NA) from Europe (EU) in the 1800s. The goal of this thesis was to test if Silene latifolia has become locally adapted across its range. My first experiment tested local adaptation of germination success to three temperatures across three latitudinal regions in a growth chamber using seeds from nine EU and NA populations. Germination success or speed was similar among latitudinal regions across continents. My second experiment examined local adaptation at a continental scale; I grew plants from 15 EU and NA populations in four common gardens across continents. Growth and survival for the first year revealed that plants grew larger in their respective continents. My results demonstrate while germination does not appear to be locally adapted, but continental factors have selected for differential juvenile growth.

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