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A. Villordon

Geographic information system (GIS) tools allow the visualization of research data that have a strong spatial component. Currently, several proprietary desktop GIS tools are available that enable researchers to generate maps and perform spatial analysis. However, these packages often require licensing agreements and do not provide specific options that enable rapid and uncomplicated analysis of biological diversity data. As an alternative, publicly available GIS applications that perform basic GIS as well as specialized functions are available. For example, DIVA–GIS was developed specifically to allow analysis of genebank and herbarium databases as well as to assess genetic, ecological, and geographic patterns in the distribution of crops and wild species. It is potentially useful for researchers who do not have the time to learn how to use proprietary GIS software, or who cannot justify purchasing a license to perform very basic GIS operations like creating and modifying maps. This presentation describes the basic features as well as some advanced functionality of DIVA–GIS and other publicly available GIS applications.

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Arthur Villordon, Craig Roussel and Tad Hardy

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) conducts sweetpotato weevil (SPW) (Cylas formicarius Fabricius) monitoring as part of the statewide SPW quarantine program. This activity involves a statewide pheromone-based trapping program that monitors sweetpotato beds and production fields. We conducted GIS analysis of SPW trap data, collected over three years, to assess the potential use of publicly available GIS tools in managing and interpreting the data. Trap data was mapped to specific beds and fields in each of three years, generating layers that clearly showed fields and parishes that reported high trap counts. GIS analysis showed potential SPW hotspots in each year, indicating that certain beds or fields are predisposed to SPW infestation than others. This information can be useful in planning SPW management strategies by growers and other stakeholders. The GIS database also provides the foundation for the development of descriptive and predictive models of SPW occurence not only in Louisiana, but in other states where SPW is a potential pest. For example, using presence data for Louisiana and Genetic Algorithm for Rule Set Prediction (GARP), a GIS-based ecological niche modelling tool, we were able to generate predicted distribution using mean minimum temperature for January as the predictor variable. Although additional work is needed to identify other predictor variables and verify the models, the results demonstrate the potential use of GIS-based tools for generating warnings or advisories related to SPW.

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A. Villordon, S. Gichuki, H. Kulembeka, S.C. Jeremiah and D. Labonte

One of the secondary centers of genetic diversity for the sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] is located in Africa. We have developed a geo-referenced database of sweetpotato accessions for Tanzania and Kenya that is accessible by stakeholders and other users. Public domain base maps and other files were used to generate the underlying GIS components. DIVA-GIS was used to convert existing spreadsheet-based accession and passport data into GIS-compliant files. ALOV Map, a public domain Java application for publishing vector and raster maps, was used to provide the framework for a web-accessible GIS database. This demonstrates that the availability of publicly available software requiring minimal or flexible licensing costs provide a cost-effective alternative to institutions that are considering developing GIS databases as well as enabling web accessibility to such resources. DIVA-GIS was also used to predict potential distribution of sweetpotato germplasm in Sub-Saharan Africa using the built-in ecological niche modelling tool. We describe procedures, software, and other applications that we used to develop a publicly accessible web interface to a GIS database of sweetpotato germplasm collections in Kenya and Tanzania.

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J. Ryan Stewart, William R. Graves and Reid D. Landes

Carolina buckthorn [Rhamnus caroliniana Walt. or Frangula caroliniana (Walt.) Gray] is an attractive and water-stress-resistant shrub or small tree distributed extensively in the southeastern United States that merits use in managed landscapes. Due to substantial climatic differences within its distribution (30-year normal midwinter minima range from 13 to -8 °C), selection among provenances based on differences in cold hardiness is warranted. Before selections are marketed, the potential of carolina buckthorn to be invasive also merits investigation. Ecological problems resulting from the introduction of Rhamnus L. species in the United States, most notably the dominance of R. cathartica L. (common buckthorn) over neighboring taxa, are due in part to early budbreak. Consequently, we investigated depth of cold hardiness and vernal budbreak of carolina buckthorn and common buckthorn. Stem samples of carolina buckthorn and common buckthorn collected in midwinter survived temperatures as low as -21 and -24 °C, respectively. Although the cold hardiness of carolina buckthorns from Missouri was greater than that of carolina buckthorns from Ohio and Texas on 2 Apr. 2003, there were no differences in cold hardiness of stems from Missouri and Texas on all three assessment dates in the second experiment. All plants survived at both field locations except for the carolina buckthorns from southern Texas planted in Iowa, which showed 0% and 17% survival in 2003 and 2004, respectively. Budbreak of both species with and without mulch in Ames, Iowa, was recorded from 9 Apr. to 10 May 2002. Mean budbreak of common buckthorn was 5.7 days earlier than budbreak of carolina buckthorn, and buds of mulched carolina buckthorns broke 4.2 days earlier than did buds of unmulched carolina buckthorns. We conclude that the cold hardiness of carolina buckthorn is sufficient to permit the species to be planted outside of its natural distribution. Populations of carolina buckthorn in Ohio and Missouri should be the focus of efforts to select genotypes for use in regions with harsh winters. Phenology of its budbreak suggests carolina buckthorn will not be as invasive as common buckthorn, but evaluation of additional determinants of invasiveness is warranted.

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Emad Bsoul, Rolston St. Hilaire and Dawn M. VanLeeuwen

Ecological traits such as an extensive range of natural distribution and tolerance to varying soil conditions, suggest that bigtooth maples (Acer grandidentatum Nutt.) could be popular landscape trees. But information on the tolerance of bigtooth maples to environmental stresses, such as drought, is virtually nonexistent. We studied physiological, growth and developmental traits of bigtooth maple plants from 15 trees native to Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah. Plants were grown in pots in a greenhouse and maintained as well-irrigated controls or exposed to drought and irrigated in cycles based on evapotranspiration. The ratio of variable to maximal fluorescence (Fv/Fm) was not different between drought-stressed and control plants, but the low Fv/Fm in plants designated as LM2 from the Lost Maples State Natural Area in Vanderpool, Tex., suggests these plants were relatively inefficient in capturing energy at PSII. Plants from another tree (LM5) originating from Lost Maples State Natural Area maintained similar predawn water potentials between drought-stressed and control plants after five cycles of drought. Plants from Dripping Springs State Park in Las Cruces, N.M., and those from LM2 had a strong, significant linear relationship between transpiration and stomatal conductance. Drought-stressed plants from Dripping Springs State Park, two plant sources from the Guadalupe Mountains in Salt Flat, Tex., designated as GM3 and GM4, and plants from trees designated as LM1 and LM2, had high relative growth rates and net assimilation rates. Drought-stressed plants from three of the four Guadalupe Mountain sources (GM1, GM3, GM4) had among the longest and thickest stems. Drought reduced shoot and root dry weight (DW). Although bigtooth maples showed several provenance differences in drought adaptation mechanisms, the lack of an irrigation effect on biomass allocation parameters such as root to shoot DW ratio and leaf area ratio implies that altered biomass allocation patterns may not be a common drought adaptation mechanism in bigtooth maples. Plants from selected provenances from the Guadalupe Mountains and Lost Maples State Natural Area in Texas, and to a lesser extent, provenances from Dripping Springs State Park in New Mexico might hold promise for selecting bigtooth maples for arid environments.

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Allen V. Barker

species richness, mostly with annual plants, can be very high in deserts and depends on the seasonal distribution of rainfall in particular. Animal diversity and geographic distribution is discussed with respect to ecological factors and community

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Adam F. Wimer, Steven L. Rideout and Joshua H. Freeman

to analyze the distribution pattern of maize dwarf mosaic virus in sweet corn ( Zea mays ). Madden et al. (1982) noted that this method was useful in evaluating temporal and spatial disease spread. The distribution patterns observed within

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Gerald M. Henry, Michael G. Burton and Fred H. Yelverton

potential to benefit growers by reducing both input costs and the unneeded application of control tactics. The introduction of new equipment and computer software used in georeferencing and managing data has made the study of spatial distribution of weeds

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James F. Cahill and Eric G. Lamb

species. The main theme of our research is to try to understand how species traits and ecological processes interact to influence the diversity and abundance of species. To do this involves studies of physiology, evolutionary ecology, herbivory

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Gayle M. Volk and Christopher M. Richards

represent both a living sample useful for breeding and, in contrast to cultivated accessions, they are associated with a specific collection point and this place sets the accession in an ecological context. Collections of wild species held in gene banks