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Mechanisms of habitat adaptation

Titel Englisch Mechanisms of habitat adaptation
Gesuchsteller/in Karrenberg Sophie
Nummer 118221
Förderungsinstrument Projektförderung (Abt. I-III)
Forschungseinrichtung Institut für Integrative Biologie Departement Umweltwissenschaften ETHZ
Hochschule ETH Zürich - ETHZ
Hauptdisziplin Oekologie
Beginn/Ende 01.11.2007 - 31.01.2011
Bewilligter Betrag 217'050.00
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Alle Disziplinen (2)


Keywords (6)

drought; fitness; heritability; phenotypic selection; reciprocal transplant; shade

Lay Summary (Englisch)

Lay summary
Most organisms have specific morphological or physiological traits that allow them to survive in certain habitats but not in others. How exactly such adaptive differences between species evolve, is one of the grand open questions of evolutionary biology. Progress in the identification of evolutionarily and ecologically important traits and the genes that control them can only be expected when joint efforts are made in the disparate areas of (field) ecology and molecular genetics. Key research questions on mechanisms of habitat adaptation include: (1) Which traits confer advantages in the own but not in the other species habitat? (2) To what degree are these traits heritable? (3) How are these traits controlled genetically? We study mechanisms of habitat adaptation in a closely related species pair, Silene dioica and S. latifolia, in three related projects: a transplant study in natural habitats, an investigation of the genetic architecture of advantageous traits and a study of marker loci under ecological selection. Ecological selection in natural habitats of both species will be studied using the two species and a highly variable second generation crosses between the species. Plants will be transplanted replicated sites of each species’ habitat. Life-history traits, morphological and physiological traits, as well as seed output will be investigated over two years and trait heritability will be assessed. The results will identify heritable traits under selection in each habitat - these are the most likely targets of current selection. Traits that are under selection in one habitat but not in the other are likely contribute to the maintenance of species barriers or were even involved in the divergence of the species. The genetic architecture of such fitness-relevant traits will be investigated in the field using an statistical approach that makes use of the relationship between the individuals (“animal model”). The main limitation to transplant experiment is that germination and early establishment cannot be assessed, yet these are crucial life history phases for many plants. The performance of seeds of the same material in germination and early establishment will be compared and the second generation crosses between the species will be scanned markers under selection by comparing marker frequencies to those in a random sample before selection. Marked differences in frequencies of such possibly species-specific markers between the habitat types would indicate that these marker loci are under ecological selection and may be related to genes conferring adaptive traits. If marker under ecological selection are found an attempt will be made to identify linked genes that may be responsible for adaptation using BAC library screening and direct sequencing.The proposed research will contribute to the understanding of habitat adaptation at both the ecological and genetic level. This is important basic research but also useful to predict how plant species will react to future climate and habitat changes.
Direktlink auf Lay Summary Letzte Aktualisierung: 21.02.2013

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