Seminar – Ecological consequences of plant genetic diversity
Associate Professor Randall Hughes, Northeastern University College of Science
Evidence for the interplay between ecological and evolutionary processes is increasing, along with recognition of their potential importance for management and conservation. For example, trait divergence and genetic variation in key consumer and plant species can have far-reaching impacts on community and ecosystem processes, on par in magnitude with the effects of species additions or deletions. Associate Professor Randall Hughes will highlight recent results from her lab that demonstrate these ecological effects of genetic diversity, as well as discuss the under-appreciated evolutionary mechanisms that create and maintain this variation. Further, this talk will provide evidence for a science-practice gap in applying this information to habitat restoration practice, discuss why this gap matters, and outline suggestions for addressing it to enhance restoration success.
Associate Professor Randall Hughes specialises in understanding the relationships among biodiversity, community processes, and ecosystem function. While biodiversity research has typically focused on the species level, A/Prof Hughes is most interested in diversity within species, combining comparative field studies and molecular analytical approaches with experiments to document broad-scale patterns, understand their mechanistic basis, and apply this knowledge to conservation and restoration.