This week, we welcome Lesley Campbell.
Gene Flow and its Role in Evolution: Applied Evolutionary Ecology of Weed(s)
Abstract: The Campbell Lab studies how genetic diversity influences population demography? To advance this goal, we study plant populations and their genetic systems – i.e., the reproductive machinery and processes that influence gamete quality and quantity, gamete dispersal, mating, fecundity and, ultimately, inter-generational transmission. Reproductive processes are highly labile in plants and have immediate evolutionary and demographic effects. Recent Progress: In the last six years, we have made significant advances in our long-term goal through research in reproductive biology, evolutionary ecology, molecular ecology, agriculture, and conservation. In the last funding cycle, My NSERC-supported research explored evolutionary demography, the environmental sensitivity of introgression, pollen dispersal, and chemical ecology. We have published groundbreaking, comprehensive studies on the role of genetic diversity in population demography1–4, the sensitivity of introgression (and mating systems more broadly) to variation in environmental conditions5– 12, and the genetic and ecological consequences of crop-wild hybridization.13–15 Our approach is novel in its serious exploration of male and female function in plants, the interacting influence of hybridization and climate on reproductive success, and their ecological and evolutionary implications. We used field experiments (selective inclusion of genotypes, reciprocal transplants), as well as physiological and molecular tools to assess the fitness consequences of altered mating patterns of agricultural weeds and crops. My work has influenced management of rare species and regulation of crops with novel traits.