This week, EEB features Dr. Stuart Campbell (Toronto), who will present:
Coevolution of plant reproduction and defence
The shift from obligate outcrossing to self-fertilization represents one of the most frequent evolutionary transitions in flowering plants. This transition alters many important evolutionary and genetic processes, including loss of genetic diversity, the genome-wide strength of natural selection and demography. The ability to self-fertilize also opens novel avenues of adaptive evolution by allowing plants to colonize marginal, novel environments, and influencing interactions with pollinators and herbivores. However, the consequences of selfing for ecological adaptation remain relatively poorly understood. In this talk I will present results from my research on the ecological and coevolutionary interactions of plant mating systems, defence against herbivores, and pollination. I will discuss how unidirectional shifts to selfing have driven convergent evolution of defence strategies; how herbivores can influence the evolution of mating systems; how herbivore-induced plant responses can affect pollination success; and finally, how floral volatiles may evolve as a result of natural selection by herbivores, pollinators and mating system.