TEE-OFFProject reference: 300026
Funded under :
The Evolutionary Ecology OF underground Fruits
Total cost:EUR 233 705,2
EU contribution:EUR 233 705,2
Call for proposal:FP7-PEOPLE-2011-IIFSee other projects for this call
Funding scheme:MC-IIF - International Incoming Fellowships (IIF)
"How an organism disperses is expected to strongly influence its geographic distribution and degree of local adaptation. However, empirical tests of these assumptions are lacking and it is unclear why closely related organisms differ in their dispersal behavior. Here, we propose to elucidate the consequences of dispersal by investigating why some organisms do not disperse. Plants with non-dispersing underground fruits will be compared with similar taxa with aerial fruits. The latter are assumed to facilitate migration, while underground fruits are predicted to maximize local adaptation and (as hypothesized by C. Darwin) to provide escape from predators.
We will use two cultivated legumes native to continental Europe and their closest relatives to determine to what extent dispersal syndromes are the product of adaptive processes, phenotypic plasticity or neutral genetic divergence. We will characterize the abiotic and biotic environment where each taxon grows and analyze the genetic structure of plant populations and their associated Rhizobia, to study their comparative biogeography. Furthermore, reciprocal sowings and common garden experiments will examine the adaptive value of underground fruits under different conditions. With this variety of approaches we aim to establish a) the extent to which dispersal constrains the geographical distribution of plants; b) if specific dispersal syndromes provide an evolutionary advantage in certain habitats and c) how dispersal behavior changes in response to biotic interactions. These questions should provide invaluable insight on the evolutionary ecology of dispersal. Additionally, since the plants used include crops, the results have potential breeding applicability. Lastly, this project will contribute to mobility in the European Research Area by bringing a creative researcher to Europe. It will also increase the competitiveness of the ERA by increasing the research, networking and outreach capacities of the host institution"
EU contribution: EUR 233 705,2
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