Seminar: Ernesto Gianoli

Tuesday, February 9, 2021 - 12:00pm

Ernesto Gianoli

Professor, Universidad de La Serena, Chile

Plant adaptation across scales and approaches:
An integrative perspective

When studying plant adaptation, the integration of local and global scales may reveal the heuristic value of field observations as well as the constancy of some ecological relationships. In the same vein, the integration of different approaches (from ecophysiology to ecology to microevolution to macroevolution) may strengthen the theoretical foundations of ecology and evolutionary biology.

In this presentation, I will illustrate these ideas with examples from my past research on plant adaptation. I will also outline a long-term research plan addressing whether two global change drivers (climate change and invasive species) exert parallel ecoevolutionary effects on two Mediterranean-climate regions that show convergent evolution of their flora: California and Central Chile.

Ernesto Gianoli is Professor in the Department of Biology at Universidad de La Serena (Chile). His research addresses both theoretical issues and plant responses to global change drivers, particularly to climate change and invasive species, encompassing several scales and levels of biological organization. In the last years, his research has focused on phenotypic plasticity as a key adaptative response of plants to changing environments. His main scientific goal is to increase our understanding of patterns of contemporary plant adaptation to the environment, particularly in the context of global change. For instance, he coauthored a study showing how anthropogenic fire has driven the evolution of seed traits in a native forb from a Mediterranean-type ecosystem. He recently discovered an extraordinary case of phenotypic plasticity, the unique capacity of the vine Boquila trifoliolata to mimic the leaves of over a dozen species.

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