EEB Seminar – October 13

This week EEB welcomes Dr. Jannice Friedman from Syracuse University:

Evolutionary Transitions in Plant Reproductive Strategies

Abstract:

The timing of individuals’ growth, reproduction, and death are fundamental to their fitness and represent striking adaptive differentiation. In flowering plants, one of the main differences between annuals and perennials is the switch from vegetative growth to flowering. In annuals this transition occurs once and is followed by death, while perennials cycle repeatedly through vegetative and reproductive phases. Using a combination of field and controlled growth experiments we are identifying the key genetic and ecological differences between annuals and perennials within a single species, Mimulus guttatus. Using naturally occurring genetic variation in the flowering transition, we are asking how seasonal variation in temperature and photoperiod contribute to the timing of growth and flowering, and allocation to sexual and clonal reproduction. Our research investigates differences in germination timing, and flowering responses to vernalization and photoperiod. Using QTL mapping and quantitative genetic analyses, we have identified shared genetic pathways, and constraints on adaptive evolution due to genetic correlations between fitness components. Furthermore, we are using field experiments with recombinant families to assess fitness differences and identify QTLs in the native environment between annuals and perennials, and perennials from different parts of the native range. Our research sheds light on how selection has shaped allocation strategies in annual and perennial populations, and how plants may continue to evolve as climates shift and alter the relative benefits of sexual and clonal growth.

Host Lab: Eckert

The EEB Seminars run weekly, on Thursdays, in the EEB Lounge of the BioSciences Complex, Room 4338, from 12:30-1:30pm. Light refreshments are served starting at 12:15.