Kristyna Kuncova gets the 1st prize !

Kristyna Kuncova gets the 1st prize !

Kristýna Hošková (Kuncová) works in the Department of Botany, Faculty of Science at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic.

At the 12th IMPR she presented her work on Geometric morphometrics as a tool for analysis of phytolith shape patterns during the evolution of grasses.

Abstract. Grass silica short cell phytoliths have the great potential to track the evolutionary history and paleoecology of grasses. In recent years, modern techniques have been used to quantitatively assess phytolith shape variation. This progress has widened opportunities with respect to the classification of grass fossil phytoliths. We examined the evolution of phytolith shape in leaves of grass species using 2D geometric morphometrics. As the degree of intraindividual variation in phytolith shape in most grasses has never been explored, we also separated the intraindividual variation from the variation due to phylogeny. We showed that grass phytolith shape variation is strongly phylogenetically conserved, with distinct shapes in early-diverging lineages of Pooideae. Our findings strengthen the potential of phytoliths to track the evolutionary history and paleoecology of grasses. The geometric morphometrics of 2D phytolith shape was shown to be an excellent tool for analyses requiring large sums of phytolith outlines, making it useful both for distinguishing interspecific from intraindividual variation, and for palaeoecological reconstruction.

This work was submitted as preprint under the name:

Phylogenetic, ecological and intraindividual variability patterns in grass phytolith shape

doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.08.12.456097

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