Coevolution of defenses and reproductive traits in Trifolium repens L. (Fabaceae)

Previous work at KSR (Ken Thompson, 2014) examined how the evolution of survival traits (e.g. antiherbivore defenses) can alter natural selection on reproductive traits (e.g. floral display). While herbivores may exert selection on plant defenses, little is known about whether, and to what extent, they may select for reproductive traits. Similarly, the role of pollinators in exerting selection on defensive traits is poorly understood, despite much literature examining their role in selecting for reproductive traits. In this study, we aim to understand the relative importance of herbivores and pollinators in driving natural selection on reproductive traits and defense. To do this, we will artificially manipulate the amount of herbivory and pollination experienced by Trifolium repens (white clover) plants that vary in their expression of hydrogen cyanide, an antiherbivore defense, and measure selection on reproductive traits and defense across the different treatments.

Principal Investigator: Marc T. J. Johnson

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