Plant Evolutionary Ecology Lab


Ongoing projects

Digitalis in Encenillo Dec 2015Plant resilience and floral adaptation to pollinator change during range expansion (FLORADAPT)

This new project will use a combination of field studies and genome sequencing to investigate the resilience and potential for evolutionary change of plant populations when faced with changes in pollinators.

Naturalised Digitalis purpurea in South America

ulex parviflorus clip of pic by PGFEvolutionary potential of floral and fire-related plant traits (with Juli Pausas)

Plant traits such as flammability appear to vary adaptively in response to variable fire regimes. To confirm the adaptive nature of the variation of fire-related traits, we are measuring their heritability directly in wild populations of the shrub Ulex parviflorus. We use Genotyping-by-Sequencing to effectively measure relatedness of individuals in the field, based on thousands of molecular markers. As a control, we also measure heritability and response to selection in fire-independent plant traits (i.e. floral traits) in populations that have been historically exposed to different fire regimes. For our recent paper using this approach with cone serotiny in pines (Pinus halepensis and P. pinaster), see here.

Floral buds of the Mediterranean Gorse, Ulex parviflorus

Asphodelus.Soneja,9.4.14Effects of wildfires on plant-insect interactions

(with PhD student Yedra García, co-supervised with Juli Pausas)

Yedra studies the effects of time since fire and of fire size on antagonistic (herbivory and seed predation) and mutualistic (pollination) interactions. Ultimately, we are interested in the fitness consequences for plants involved in these interactions. You can read a summary of our work in this topic here.

Asphodelus ramosus blooming after a wildfire

megatree with hummingbird pollianted families Floral exaptations in the evolution of hummingbird pollination  

I test the importance of ancestral floral morphological constraints on the evolution of hummingbird pollination in a macroevolutionary context. Using a phylogenetic tree of all angiosperm families present in the New World, I am looking for correlated evolution between hummingbird pollination and floral connation and zygomorphy.


New world angiosperm megatree with families with presence of hummingbird pollination in red