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 OJE  Vol.4 No.2 , February 2014
Modulations in seed micromorphology reveal signature of adaptive species-diversification in Dendrobium (Orchidaceae)
Abstract: During speciation in flowering plants, many morphological characters were evolved in response to continuous selection pressure. Such characters are largely governed by genetic changes or get modulated according to ecological adaptations. To explore the potential of latter, a novel comparative analysis of seed micromorphology and ultrastructure was performed in twenty species in the genus Dendrobium (Orchidaceae) from well-defined altitude based phytogeographical realms i.e. temperate, subtropical and tropical regions. Seed morphological characteristics from all collected species were examined using 13 quantitative traits descriptors. Comparative seed morphology revealed that the species from temperate region have larger seed volumes and seed volume/embryo volume ratio than species from subtropical or tropical regions irrespective of their phylogenetic association. Hence, phylogenetically related species emphasized their preference for a climatic region as their prime habitat. Similar trends towards gradual increase of percentage free air space were observed in the species of tropical to subtropical and subtropical to temperate regions. The higher percentage of free air space may have an advantage for the species from temperate region with relatively low atmospheric pressure that had greater buoyancy for optimal seed dispersal. Also, phylogenetically distant species from a particular climatic region, showed characteristic features of the testa cell walls sculptured with bead-like orna-mentations or covered with cottony white substances. Based on these observations, it may be concluded that seed volume, % free air space and seed coat ornamentation in Dendrobium species are signatures of adaptation according to climatic preferences rather than their selection during speciation.
Cite this paper: Chaudhary, B. , Chattopadhyay, P. and Banerjee, N. (2014) Modulations in seed micromorphology reveal signature of adaptive species-diversification in Dendrobium (Orchidaceae). Open Journal of Ecology, 4, 33-42. doi: 10.4236/oje.2014.42005.
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