Javier Valverde is now a rookie Doctor in Biology. He obtained his PhD in the University of Granada the past 9th of June, 2017. His PhD dissertation was entitled “Structured generalization: Evolutionary dynamics at a fine spatial scale in a generalist system” (“Generalización Estructurada: Dinámica Evolutiva a Escala Espacial Fina en un Sistema Generalista”).
Under the umbrella of the Strugen project, this thesis explores the hypothesis of the structured generalization, from its causes to its effects on the population genetic structure, using the generalist plant species Erysimum mediohispanicum (Brassicaceae) as a species model.
In these studies, we monitored a series of marked individuals in a natural population and in two experimental plots of this species in Sierra Nevada (Granada, Spain). For each individual plant, we characterized its phenotype and microenvironment and surveyed all plant interactions with its pollinators along the flowering season. Additionally, we genotyped each marked individual as well as a sample of their progeny. Finally, we characterized the effectiveness of pollination of the different functional groups visiting the flowers of E. mediohispanicum.
We have demonstrated that phenotype and environment determine de individual generalization. We also show that, as a consequence, a biased pollen flow emerges influenced by the preferences and movements of the most effective pollinators. We inferred the effects of this processes in shaping the population spatial genetic structure. All these finding validated some of the basic foundations of the hypothesis of the structured generalization.
Good job, Dr. Valverde!