Evolutionary Systems Biology of Species Interactions

Department of Biology Seminar Series
Dr. Simon C. "Niels" Groen, New York University
- | Tedori Family Auditorium, Levin Building
Dr. Groen

Retracing relationships between DNA sequence evolution, phenotype, and fitness allows us to uncover the genetic mechanisms of adaptation. Knowledge of adaptive genomic loci is important for discerning the evolutionary histories of individual traits, and for clarifying how, and why, their genomic architectures evolve. The genomes of plants and plant-feeding insects (herbivores) are rich in signatures of adaption after a 400 million-year history of repeated plant colonizations by insects, which are intimately linked to trait diversification and species radiations. My research concentrates on trait adaptation in interactions between plants and their insect herbivores to understand: 1) the genetic architecture of ecological specialization in plants and herbivores, 2) how species interactions drive the maintenance of functional genetic variation within and between species, and 3) how plants navigate harmful and beneficial interactions whilst minimizing fitness trade-offs.