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The evolutionary potential of the determinants of species coexistence

Turcotte, Martin (2020) The evolutionary potential of the determinants of species coexistence. In: Pitt Momentum Fund 2020, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa. (Unpublished)

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"Understanding the processes that create and those that maintain biodiversity are key challenges in biological research. What is becoming clear, is that ecological and evolutionary processes can influence each other on slow as well as very rapid timescales to dictate biodiversity changes. The long-term objective of this research project is to experimentally test why evolution in response to competition sometimes promotes or hinders species coexistence. Ultimately, to address this question, my lab will conduct manipulative field evolution experiments that quantify the feedback between evolution and competition, using a theoretical framework that includes processes that both promote and hinder coexistence.
Theory tells us that the outcome of species competition is determined by processes that promote coexistence (stabilizing niche differences) and those driving competitive exclusion (competitive-ability differences). Yet, before testing how these determinants of species coexistence could rapidly evolve, we must first quantify their genetic variation in natural populations. The extent and distribution of genetic variation will dictate their evolutionary potential and likely dynamics.
I here request Seeding Grant funding to sample populations of duckweed, small rapidly reproducing aquatic plants, that differ in their community composition (growing alone or with a competing species). Then, I will quantify their genetic composition using molecular markers. These are critical first steps before quantifying genetic variation in niche and competitive-ability differences and ultimately conduct experimental evolution which will be supported by external funding (e.g. NSF DEB). This research project will significantly improve our understanding of fundamental interactions between community ecology and evolution. By testing the impact of genetic variance and rapid evolution, this project may profoundly change how species coexistence research views evolution from a historical process to one rapid enough to alter on-going competitive dynamics. In addition, it will help us better understand why biodiversity is lost or maintained in nature."


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Turcotte, Martinturcotte@pitt.eduturcotte
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Office of Sponsored Research > Pitt Momentum Fund
Date: 2020
Event Title: Pitt Momentum Fund 2020
Event Type: Other
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.18117/j3xc-0f20
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Biological Sciences
Refereed: No
Other ID: 3215
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2020 16:13
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2023 19:21


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