Molecular phylogeny and evolutionary history of Moricandia DC (Brassicaceae)

Molecular phylogeny and evolutionary history of Moricandia DC (Brassicaceae)

We present in this paper a molecular phylogeny of the genus Moricandia (Brassicaceae). We have found that a Spanish population previously ascribed to Rytidocarpus moricandioides is indeed a Moricandia species, and we propose to name it as M. rytidocarpoides sp. nov. In addition, M. foleyi appeared outside the Moricandia lineage but within the genus Eruca. Therefore, M. foleyi should be excluded from the genus Moricandia and be ascribed to the genus Eruca. Read more

A general framework for effectiveness concepts in mutualisms

A general framework for effectiveness concepts in mutualisms

A core interest in studies of mutualistic interactions is the ‘effectiveness’ of mutualists in providing benefits to their partners. In plant-animal mutualisms it is widely accepted that the total effect of a mutualist on its partner is estimated as (1) a ‘quantity’ component multiplied by (2) a ‘quality’ component, although the meanings of ‘effectiveness,’ ‘quantity,’ and ‘quality’ and which terms are applied to these metrics vary greatly across studies. In addition, a similar quantity × quality = total effect approach has not been applied to other types of mutualisms, although it could be informative. Lastly, when a total effect approach has been applied, it has invariably been from a phytocentric perspective, focussing on the effects of animal mutualists on their plant partner. This lack of a common framework of ‘effectiveness’ of mutualistic interactions limits generalisation and the development of a broader understanding of the ecology and evolution of mutualisms.

In a our paper published in Ecology Letters (Schupp, Jordano & Gómez 2017, Ecology Letters 20: 577–590), we propose a general framework to study effectiveness and demonstrate its utility by applying it to both partners in five different types of mutualisms: pollination, seed dispersal, plant protection, rhizobial, and mycorrhizal mutualisms.

Hidden Extinctions: Losing plant diversity in Iberian arid zones as a consequence of the anthropic-mediated expansion of weedss

Hidden Extinctions: Losing plant diversity in Iberian arid zones as a consequence of the anthropic-mediated expansion of weedss

In this project, funded by the Fundación BBVA (PR17-ECO-0021), we evaluate the consequences of the expansion of weeds associated to human environments on the arid vegetation from the Iberian Peninsula. The specific goal is to check whether the presence of the ruderal species Moricandia arvensis is having a harmful effect on its three co-generic species endemic to arid habitats, namely, M. moricandioides, M. foetida and M. rytidocarpoides. Read more

Niche differences may explain the geographic distribution of cytotypes in Erysimum mediohispanicum

Niche differences may explain the geographic distribution of cytotypes in Erysimum mediohispanicum

In a paper recently published in Plant Biology, we have identified environmental differences between niches occupied by diploids and tetraploids Erysimum mediohispanicum.

To evaluate the adaptive significance of the geographic distribution of cytotypes, we characterized the ploidy level of 118 populations across the Iberian Peninsula and obtained their interpolated climate variables from the Worldclim 1.4. In addition, we also characterized floral phenotype of both cytotypes.

We found a clear geographic pattern in the distribution of cytotypes, with diploid individuals occurring in the southernmost part of the distribution range, while tetraploids were found in the northern area. A contact zone between both cytotypes was identified but diploid and tetraploid individuals very rarely occur in sympatry. In this contact zone, both cytotypes grow at different altitudes, mean temperatures and precipitation.

Diploid and tetraploid populations clearly differ in corolla tube width and stalk diameter, and importantly depends on precipitation and temperature. In addition to climate, several soil variables also explained the geographic distribution of cytotypes, according to our niche models. The most consistent influence was found by the dominant parent material, with tetraploid populations growing in more diverse soil types.

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Javier Valverde defended his PhD Thesis

Javier Valverde defended his PhD Thesis

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”).

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