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Warren Herb Wagner Guest Lecture in Plant Evolution: Evolution of the niche: phylogenetic and experimental perspectives

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
12:00 AM
1200 Chemistry Building

David AckerlyAbstract
The niche plays a central role in ecological and evolutionary theory, despite, or perhaps because of, many different definitions and applications. Two challenges in particular arise in efforts to cross spatial and temporal scales, to link experimental and community-based niche studies with phylogenetic and macroevolutionary approaches. First, the niche is often best defined at a community level, contrasting species with their immediate neighbors and competitors, but this approach is difficult to map onto phylogenetic studies for comparative studies examining niche evolution. And second, we still grapple with the connection between the potential for adaptive evolution in populations and observations of stasis, niche conservatism and related macroevolutionary measures. In this lecture, I will explore these challenges, illustrating the potential for the alpha-beta niche distinction to help resolve the first, and sharing results of an experimental study of niche evolution in vernal pool annuals (Lasthenia), and implications for understanding the recent radiation of this clade.

Please join us for a pre-seminar reception from 3:15 - 4 p.m. in Room 2060 Kraus Natural Science Building

Host: Professor Christopher Dick.

The annual seminar honors the memory of Dr. Wagner, a 40-year member of the U-M faculty, an international authority on the evolution and systematics of ferns and a respected scholar who is known for the development of the Wagner phylogenetic tree, used by systematic biologists worldwide.

Pictured: David Ackerly.

David Ackerly