Effect of animal pollination on population structure and diversity of plants

Presenter: Alicia Toon, The University of Queensland

Abstract: Plant-pollinator interactions play an important role in the diversification of both groups. Pollinators are thought to affect gene flow and population connectivity in some species to the extent that they have been implicated in speciation, but this has rarely been demonstrated. I will present results from two native plant systems: poison peas and cycads, showing how species interactions can affect population structure and connectivity and potentially influence diversification in both flowering plants and gymnosperms. 


Morphology in the age of genomics: A deep-time map of evolution

Presenter: Dr Thomas Guillerme, The University of Queensland

Abstract: Only morphological data can help us link fossil and living species data in evolutionary studies. I will present a series of new methodological developments to incorporate fossil data analysis through the example of mammalian evolution across the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction 66 million years ago. Our results contradict the popular theory that dinosaurs were restricting mammalian evolution, and that their extinction liberated ecological niches for mammals.


Applications of population genetics to insects, plants and their interactions

Presenter: Dr James Hereward, The University of Queensland

Abstract: The interactions between specialist herbivorous insects and their plant hosts are responsible for a large portion of biodiversity largely due to speciation associated with host plant shifts. On the other hand, generalist insects pose a number of problems in interpreting their ecology and evolution. I will discuss some of the insights gained into these insect plant interactions using a population genetics approach.


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