Speciation of the american cranberry vaccinium macrocarpon
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Brandon Schlautman. Speciation of the American Cranberry ( Vaccinium macrocarpon ). What is a species?. Domain- Eukarya Kingdom- Plantae Phylum- Magnoliophyta Class- Magnoliopsida Order- Ericales Family- Ericaceae Is a member of the heath family.

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Speciation of the American Cranberry ( Vaccinium macrocarpon )

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Brandon Schlautman

Speciation of the American Cranberry (Vacciniummacrocarpon)

What is a species?

  • Domain- Eukarya

    • Kingdom- Plantae

      • Phylum- Magnoliophyta

        • Class- Magnoliopsida

          • Order- Ericales

            • Family- EricaceaeIs a member of the heath family.

              • Genus- VacciniumIs a member of the blueberry genus.

                • Species- VacciniummacrocarponAit.

Cranberry Morphology/Adaptations

  • Small vining shrub, forms dense mats in bog areas

Cranberry Morphology/Adaptations

  • Extensive rhizomes, asexual reproduction

  • Self-incompatible

  • Flowers look like a crane’s head and neck

Cranberry Morphology/Adaptations

  • Yellow/red false berries

  • Fruits contain locules

  • Fruits are very hardy

Vaccinium Phylogeny

  • Phylogenetic tree- a branching diagram revealing the evolutionaryrelationships among various biological speciesbased upon similarities and differences in their physical and/or genetic characteristics.

Vaccinium genus: some members

V. vitis-idaea


V. angustifolium

Lowbush Blueberry

V. corymbosum

Highbush Blueberry

V. myrtillus


V. ovatum


V. darrowii

Subgenus: Oxycoccos

  • Sect. Oxycoccus

  • Vacciniummacrocarpon – American Cranberry

  • Vacciniummicrocarpum – Small Cranberry

  • Vacciniumoxycoccos – Common Cranberry

  • Sect. Oxycoccoides

  • Vacciniumerythrocarpus – Southern Mountain

    • Cranberry

V. oxycoccos

V. macrocarpon

V. microcarpum

V. erythrocarpus

Vaccinium theory

How does evolution fit in this picture?

  • Basic definition of evolution: A genetic change in a population over time.

  • Main objective: What evolutionary forces and/or types of selection were acting upon Vacciniumsubgenus oxycoccos which caused it to split (i.e. speciate) into three or more distinct species?

  • Further objective: Are there really three species, and should the oxycoccos subgenus exist?

Speciation- a lineage-splitting event that produces two or more separate species

  • Allopatric Speciation- Speciation occurring in an alternate location

    • Geographic barriers to reproduction

  • Sympatric Speciation- Speciation occurring in same location

    • Barriers to reproduction in same geographic area

      • Ex) chromosome duplication/polyploidy

  • Selection’s Role in Speciation

    • Natural Selection- gradual random process which causes biological traits to become more or less common in a population

      • Survival of the fittest

    • Artificial Selection- Human mediated selection, agriculture

    Oxycoccus Geographic Distribution

    V. macrocarpon

    V. oxycoccus 4N

    V. oxycoccus 2N

    V. microcarpum

    V. erythrocarpus

    Following Speciation: Genetic Fingerprints

    • Microsatellites (SSRs)- Short Sequence Repeats



    • By tracking changes in genetic sequences (SSRs), we can follow the genetic change in populations overtime (i.e. Evolution!)

    Chloroplast Data Example

    Why Chloroplast DNA

    Maternally inherited –only one copy per plant (i.e. every plant is a homozygote)

    Small size-110,000 bp vs. 550,000,000bp nuclear genome

    Minimal variation

    Revised Vaccinium Genetic Theory

    Gentic Theory and Distribution

    V.erythrocarpus- Likely Allopatric Speciation- isolated in Appalacian Mountains

    V. Oxycoccus 4N- Sympatric Speciation- Reproductive barrier due to polyploidy

    V. Oxycoccus 2N- Allopatric Speciaion – geographic isolation

    V. Macrocarpon 2N- Allopatric Speciation – geographic isolation

    Current Vaccinium Theory based onMorphology alone

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