Evolutionary Ecology

Ecological and Evolutionary Epigenetics

Yuanye Zhang, Vit Latzel, Markus Fischer, Oliver Bossdorf
We now know that heritable variation in ecologically important traits can also be caused by epigenetic variation, even in the complete absence of DNA sequence variation. Thus, epigenetic variation should allow rapid evolution and adaptation, as well as functional diversity effects. We are carrying out experiments withArabidopsis lines that are genetically similar but highly epigenetically variable, to test for ecological and evolutionary consequences of epigenetic variation. Among others, we are conducting large phenotypic screenings, experimental evolution, and functional epigenetic diversity experiments.
(supported by European Science Foundation; in collaboration with several groups in Germany, France, Austria & the Netherlands)

Microevolution of grassland plants in response to land use

Oliver Bossdorf, Daniel Prati
We use quantitative genetic methods to test for genetic differentiation of several different grassland plants in response to human land use (mowing, grazing, fertilization). Populations sampled across land use gradients are compared in a common garden. This project is carried out within the Biodiversity Exploratories in Germany.
(funded by German Research Foundation; in collaboration with Eva Völler & Harald Auge, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Halle, Germany)