Any introduction to evolution by means of natural selection will focus on the importance of adaptations that increase rates of survival and reproductive success. While much research has investigated the evolution of traits to increase survival and reproductive success independently of one another, very little is known about how these two types of traits may coevolve within species. In this study, we aim to understand how the evolution of traits for increased survival— herbivore defenses—can influence natural selection on traits associated with reproduction. To do this, we will examine selection on reproductive traits in plants of Trifolium repens (white clover) that vary in their expression of hydrogen cyanide, an herbivore defense.
Principal Investigator: Marc T. J. Johnson
Researcher: Ken A. Thompson