Project Overview

This research focuses on the ecology and evolution of the Adiantum pedatum complex, a clade of three maidenhair ferns, in the Green Mountains of Vermont. This clade is an interesting study system because hybridization and diffential substrate preferences have resulted in reticulate evolution and endemism. Adiantum pedatum, a diploid fern, is widely distributed across rich northern hardwood forests in eastern North America. Adiantum aleuticum, also a diploid, and A. viridimontanum, a tetraploid, are restricted to serpentine substrates in the region. Adiantum aleuticum is disjunct between western and eastern North America, but Adiantum viridimontanum is endemic to central Vermont and northern Quebec. This endemic species is the allopolyploid descendant of a sterile cross between the two diploid maidenhair ferns. The purpose of this project is to unravel how the systematic relations of the Adiantum pedatum complex have influenced their realized ecological niches. Although restricted to serpentine substrates like it's progenitor Adiantum aleuticum, Adiantum viridimontanum appears to inhabit a wider ecological niche space that likely results from the ecological contribution of the A. pedatum genome in the hybrid.


1)To test the hypothesis that the ecological niches of A. aleuticum and A. viridimontanum are differentiated from one another 2) To understand how variable substrate preferences and requirements shape the differential distribution of the clade

Dataset Availability

By request: 1 dataset

See the full list of available data


Status - Active

Start date: 2016-06-07

Anticipated end date: 2017-10-13

Study Area

Download Shapefiles