Date of Award

8-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Entomology and Plant Pathology

Major Professor

John A. Skinner

Committee Members

William E. Klingeman, Robert Trigiano

Abstract

Part 1: Visitation of potential pollinators to Cornus florida and C. kousa flowers was assessed in East Tennessee in 2008 and 2009. Data regarding insect visitation rates to multiple trees per location were gathered throughout the flowering period. Diurnal and seasonal variations in visitation were recorded. Pollen coverage was assessed on portions of captured insect exoskeletons that were most likely to contact the stigma. Eleven families in four insect orders were collected from C. florida and 26 families in five orders from C. kousa. The most important pollinators in eastern Tennessee were bees in the Andrenidae and Halictidae. The most common visitors to C. kousa flowers were scarab, cerambycid and cantharid beetles. Halictid bees were also frequent visitors to C. kousa.

Part 2: Dispersion of flowering dogwood pollen in an orchard was evaluated by performing parentage analysis on open pollinated seedlings collected from a single maternal tree. Pollen source for 45 seedling trees were established using three polymorphic simple sequence repeat (SSR) loci. The expected leptokurtic distribution was not seen. Although the majority of paternal trees were within the 12 m radius of the study area, the trees most likely to donate pollen were some of the furthest away. Unusual pollen movement may be a product of lack of synchronization of flowering times between the mother tree and potential pollen donors in the area. Additionally relative proportions of certain pollinating insects (andrenid and halictid bees) may have moved pollen further than expected.

Appendix 1: Pollen from 6 species in the genus Cornus was analyzed with Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy to determine the utility of this tool to identify pollen grains to species. Although there were differences visible in the spectra, principal components analysis coupled with cluster analysis could not consistently identify pollen grains.

Appendix 2: Floral volatile emissions from 6 species of Cornus were collected in a headspace chamber and analyzed with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to determine if differences between emitted volatiles of C. florida and C. kousa explain differences in floral insect visitation. The relationship between floral volatile emission and the phylogeny of Cornus was also examined.

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