Climate change, range expansion and evolution of flowering phenology

Project Description:
As climate changes, many of the plant species found in more southerly regions are expected move north with their “climate envelopes.” Although northern latitudes may eventually provide warmer temperatures and longer growing seasons, other environmental factors will not change. Newly arriving species could come under intense natural selection to adapt to these other conditions. One such factor is the exaggerated annual cycle of day length at higher latitudes. In many plants the seasonal change in day length-the photoperiod-cues flower production, dormancy and other key life history events. A northward migrant may find suitable growing conditions, but it will not be tuned to the local photoperiodic cycle and hence it will be out of synch with the seasons. We are using artificial warming field arrays to elevate temperatures to those predicted for 2050. Southerly plant species can thus be grown at the KSR latitude, and the intensity of natural selection on flowering time and other key events can be measure.

Principal Investigator: 

Prof. Arthur Weis, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto

Other Investigators:
Susana Wadgymar, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto
Amanda Stock, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto
Aditi Barbhai, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto

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