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Evolution in fragmented plant populations: plant genetic variation, mating system, fitness, and natural enemies


The scientific objectives of the proposed research are to examine potential evolutionary changes in plant populations occurring in habitats fragmented and threatened due to human activities. The project aims to examine the evolution of plant-herbivore/path ogen interactions as well as plant mating system evolution in fragmented plant populations, and to further link interactions with natural enemies to mating system evolution. Experiments will be conducted in field, greenhouse and in laboratory and multidisc iplinary methods, including molecular genetic methods, will be intergraded. The results will increase our understanding on the evolutionary processes taking place in fragmented habitats and has important implications for conservation biology. The proposed research and mobility provides a young female scientist an opportunity to work in a high quality international research group and to learn new research methods, bringing along skills, collaboration and networking essential for widening her career prospects . The fundamental principle of `European added value can be applied in cases where joint research is of interest given the cross-border nature of the problems involved. Conservation biology, the major topic of the proposed research, is a discipline where i nternational collaboration and integration of research resources and knowledge are specifically and urgently needed. Fragmentation and degradation of habitats and loss of biodiversity are global and shared problems, and the welfare and sustainability of ec osystems are of common interest. As Europeans can be considered progressive in conservation matters both in legislation and in research, investing in high quality research on conservation biology with international collaboration and networking would provi de an ideal opportunity to enhance the scientific excellence in EU on an area of current and future global interest.

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