We are interested in the ecological and evolutionary consequences of gene flow between plant populations. Hybridization—interspecific gene flow— has been known to generate populations that retain relatively high genetic diversities as opposed to non-hybridized populations. This increased diversity, if sustained through generations, is thought to promote rapid adaptive evolution as demonstrated by the aggressive invasive crop-wild radish hybrid (Raphanus sativus x raphanistum). However, the success of many hybrids, including radish, seem to vary between environments and the suite of adaptive traits they possess. Our primary objective is to determine whether gene flow transfers traits that predispose plants, hybrid or not, to live in a particular environment. If so, which traits are changing? Consequently, do these changes affect their reproductive success, survival, or both?
Principal Investigator: Dr. Lesley Campbell