Presentation Title

The impact of climate heterogeneity in niche evolution and diversification of Encelia in Western North America

Faculty Mentor

Sonal SInghal

Start Date

23-11-2019 8:45 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 9:30 AM

Location

66

Session

poster 2

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

biological_agricultural_sciences

Abstract

Closely related species can rapidly diversify across different environments, leading to large phenotypic differences between species. One example is the species in the Encelia genus, a genus of perennial desert shrubs. The species in this genus evolved within the last five million years and rapidly radiated throughout North American deserts to inhabit a spectrum of niches. Ecological niche modelling (ENM) uses geographic and environmental information to characterize the niche of species. These models can then be used to study niche evolution and its relation to speciation. Here, we use environmental data (climatic & soil composition data) and species occurrence records mined from online databases to construct ENMs. We then integrate these with a species-wide phylogeny to test models for divergence or conservatism of niche across species diversification. Our study seeks to understand the environmental variables driving niche evolution and radiation of Encelia across the deserts of California & Mexico. Doing so will allow us to understand the impact of climate heterogeneity in rapid species radiation. In particular, we test if closely-related species have divergent or conserved niches. If we find closely-related species have divergent niches than expected under a null model of niche evolution, environmental factors (change in climate) significantly impact niche divergence and is a driver of speciation. If we find species have more conserved niches, then environmental factors might not have a significant impact in niche evolution and is not a significant driver of speciation. More generally, our work will characterize the effects of historical climate change in evolution.

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Nov 23rd, 8:45 AM Nov 23rd, 9:30 AM

The impact of climate heterogeneity in niche evolution and diversification of Encelia in Western North America

66

Closely related species can rapidly diversify across different environments, leading to large phenotypic differences between species. One example is the species in the Encelia genus, a genus of perennial desert shrubs. The species in this genus evolved within the last five million years and rapidly radiated throughout North American deserts to inhabit a spectrum of niches. Ecological niche modelling (ENM) uses geographic and environmental information to characterize the niche of species. These models can then be used to study niche evolution and its relation to speciation. Here, we use environmental data (climatic & soil composition data) and species occurrence records mined from online databases to construct ENMs. We then integrate these with a species-wide phylogeny to test models for divergence or conservatism of niche across species diversification. Our study seeks to understand the environmental variables driving niche evolution and radiation of Encelia across the deserts of California & Mexico. Doing so will allow us to understand the impact of climate heterogeneity in rapid species radiation. In particular, we test if closely-related species have divergent or conserved niches. If we find closely-related species have divergent niches than expected under a null model of niche evolution, environmental factors (change in climate) significantly impact niche divergence and is a driver of speciation. If we find species have more conserved niches, then environmental factors might not have a significant impact in niche evolution and is not a significant driver of speciation. More generally, our work will characterize the effects of historical climate change in evolution.