Genetic diversity of goldenrod as a potential determinant of insect community structure (Past)

Kelsey Kidd, while a Yale Forestry and Environmental Studies Master Student (Class of 2008), explored the relationship between dominant plant genetic diversity and insect species diversity in New England old-fields. For the project she sampled several old-fields in northeast Connecticut for leaves from the dominant plant goldenrod (Solidago rugosa) as well as insects. She found a significant negative correlation between S. rugosa genetic diversity and insect species diversity in the old-fields. This is somewhat contrary to current published literature on the topic of community genetics. These results give us some insight into how dominant plant genetic diversity may be shaping natural communities, as opposed to the manipulated communities used for previous studies in community genetics.