Defense Date

2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Environmental Studies

First Advisor

RODNEY DYER

Abstract

Urbanization greatly alters plant and pollinator communities and can affect pollinator movement and subsequent gene flow. Plants persisting in urban areas must adjust to local environmental conditions often different from those in which they naturally evolved, and cultivation techniques for landscaping species have developed traits suitable for existence in urban habitats. Cultivated varieties and native conspecifics often exist in geographic proximity, and if pollinator movement is not blocked by urban structural components, functional differences may negatively impact spatially proximate native populations. I used spatial analysis of successful pollination of Cornus florida to estimate how pollinator movement is affected by urban features. My results suggest that buildings and canopy are the most important components which influence reproductive success in urban habitats. Additionally, I compared functional responses of both adult and offspring C. florida cultivars and native plants to differential light environments in the urban and natural understory habitats, and we found differences in physiology and morphology that could lead to negative fitness consequences for native populations should gene escape from urban cultivar to native populations occur via pollinator movement.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2013

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