Genetic variation and evolution of secondary compounds in native and introduced populations of the invasive plant Melaleuca quinquenervia
Evolution: International Journal of Organic Evolution, 66, 1398-1412, 2012
Abstract: We examined multivariate evolution of 20 leaf terpenoids in the invasive plant Melaleuca quinquenervia in a common garden experiment. Although most compounds, including 1,8‐Cineole and Viridiflorol, were reduced in home compared with invaded range genotypes, consistent with an evolutionary decrease in defense, one compound (E‐Nerolidol) was greater in invaded than home range genotypes. Nerolidol was negatively genetically correlated with Cineole and Viridiflorol, and the increase in this compound in the new range may have been driven by this negative correlation. There was positive selection on all three focal compounds, and a loss of genetic variation in introduced range genotypes. Selection skewers analysis predicted an increase in Cineole and Viridiflorol and a decrease or no change in Nerolidol, in direct contrast to the observed changes in the new range. This discrepancy could be due to differences in patterns of selection, genetic correlations, or the herbivore communities in the home versus introduced ranges. Although evolutionary changes in most compounds were consistent with the evolution of increased competitive ability hypothesis, changes in other compounds as well as selection patterns were not, indicating that it is important to understand selection and the nature of genetic correlations to predict evolutionary change in invasive species.
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Bongard's work focuses on understanding the general nature of cognition, regardless of whether it is found in humans, animals or robots. This unique approach focuses on the role that morphology and evolution plays in cognition. Addressing these questions has taken him into the fields of biology, psychology, engineering and computer science.
Danforth is an applied mathematician interested in modeling a variety of physical, biological, and social phenomenon. He has applied principles of chaos theory to improve weather forecasts as a member of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, and developed a real-time remote sensor of global happiness using messages from Twitter: the Hedonometer. Danforth co-runs the Computational Story Lab with Peter Dodds, and helps run UVM's reading group on complexity.
Laurent studies the interaction of structure and dynamics. His research involves network theory, statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics along with their applications in epidemiology, ecology, biology, and sociology. Recent projects include comparing complex networks of different nature, the coevolution of human behavior and infectious diseases, understanding the role of forest shape in determining stability of tropical forests, as well as the impact of echo chambers in political discussions.
Hines' work broadly focuses on finding ways to make electric energy more reliable, more affordable, with less environmental impact. Particular topics of interest include understanding the mechanisms by which small problems in the power grid become large blackouts, identifying and mitigating the stresses caused by large amounts of electric vehicle charging, and quantifying the impact of high penetrations of wind/solar on electricity systems.
Bagrow's interests include: Complex Networks (community detection, social modeling and human dynamics, statistical phenomena, graph similarity and isomorphism), Statistical Physics (non-equilibrium methods, phase transitions, percolation, interacting particle systems, spin glasses), and Optimization(glassy techniques such as simulated/quantum annealing, (non-gradient) minimization of noisy objective functions).