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Evolution and ecology of oddball reproduction in Australian bush tomatoes: Further evidence that “Plants are cool, Too!”

Speaker:
Dr. Chris Martine
Institution:
Bucknell University
Seminar date:
Monday, January 9, 2017 - 11:45
Location:
HCK 132

The “bush tomatoes” (Solanum) of the Australian Monsoon Tropics continue to generate questions related to reproductive ecology, species boundaries, biogeography, and breeding systems evolution. This talk will summarize work done on this unusual group of plants in the Martine lab, often inclusive of undergraduate students, through a holistic research strategy that includes fieldwork, herbarium collections, greenhouse culture, and molecular approaches. Recent findings generated through these efforts will be presented, including a) phylogenetic inferences regarding pollination and seed dispersal strategies, b) population genetics results suggesting differential maintenance of genetic diversity among sympatric taxa of three distinct breeding systems, and c) new species discoveries. We have found new species work to be especially fruitful in generating opportunities for outreach and public engagement, and successes in these areas will also be discussed. 

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