Crazy for creosote bush

Published: May 8, 2017

Will in the field

 

Will, an undergraduate in the lab, and Julienne accompanied Rob to southern Arizona and California this spring to investigate pollinator visitation and reproductive interactions between diploid, tetraploid, and hexaploid creosote bush (Larrea tridentata). It was a stellar year for flowers in the desert southwest, with many plants blooming abundantly that are usually quite sparse. It was also a good year for native bees, the primary pollinators of creosote bush with 20 specialist species, and the team was able to collect a lot of data on ploidy-specific visitation. The abundant bloom also helped with making controlled crosses between the ploidies where they co-occur, information crucial for understanding the role genome duplication plays in driving patterns of diversification. You can hear more about the results of this work when Rob presents at the Evolution meetings in Portland this summer.