Murray State University

Poster Title

Using Molecular Markers to Revise Species-range for Red and White Mulberry, and the Implications for Conservation

Institution

Murray State University

Abstract

Red Mulberry (Morus rubra) fruits are an important food for wildlife. The native Red Mulberry looks similar to the non-native, weedy White Mulberry (M. alba), and the two species are often mis-identified. Using molecular markers, we tested trees sampled throughout eastern North America. When DNA-identified individuals were mapped, it was obvious that range maps are incorrect. White Mulberry is more cold-hardy and Red Mulberry is actually restricted to microclimates of winter warmth in northern areas. Red Mulberry in these states is very likely an unrecognized conservation concern.

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Using Molecular Markers to Revise Species-range for Red and White Mulberry, and the Implications for Conservation

Red Mulberry (Morus rubra) fruits are an important food for wildlife. The native Red Mulberry looks similar to the non-native, weedy White Mulberry (M. alba), and the two species are often mis-identified. Using molecular markers, we tested trees sampled throughout eastern North America. When DNA-identified individuals were mapped, it was obvious that range maps are incorrect. White Mulberry is more cold-hardy and Red Mulberry is actually restricted to microclimates of winter warmth in northern areas. Red Mulberry in these states is very likely an unrecognized conservation concern.