Ecology and Evolution of Plant-Herbivore Interactions

Project Description

Plants frequently adapt to natural selection imposed by the abiotic (e.g., temperature) and biotic (e.g., herbivores) environment, but the relative importance of these different sources of selection are poorly known. In this study we will examine the ability of the native wildflower common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) to adapt to latitudinal clines in temperature and herbivory.

Additional Scientific Information

The objective of this study is to understand the relative importance of natural selection by the abiotic (temperature) and biotic (herbivory) environment in driving adaptive evolution in a native plant (Asclepias syriaca). We will create four common gardens along a latitudinal transects, and we will plant plant genotypes collected from each of these four locations into every common garden. Within gardens we will control the presence absence of local insects so that we can disentangle the role of local adaptation to the local abiotic environment as well as the local herbivore community. The proposed common garden at Jokers Hill will be the northern most location of our transect.

Principal InvestigatorMarc Johnson

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