PIs: Kai Jensen, Jörg Fromm, Dieter Hanelt, Daniela Jacob
One PhD (50%, 3.5 years), Supervisors: Kai Jensen, Jörg Fromm, Dieter Hanelt & one Postdoc (50%, 2 years), Supervision: Daniela Jacob; in-kind contribution: Technical Assistant (20%) in the greenhouse for taking care of the experimental populations.
Hybridization and subsequent polyploidization are important evolutionary processes in the plant kingdom, but direct effects of these processes on the evolutionary success are still poorly understood. Hybrids often show a better performance than their parental taxa and due to this increased hybrid vigor several hybrids are known to be noxious invaders in natural ecosystems. We aim to better understand the factors limiting the distribution of hybrid taxa in plants. To achieve this goal, the current distribution of selected hybrids (in Spartina, Arabidopsis and Populus) and their parental taxa will be examined. Climatic, edaphic and hydrological conditions of their habitats will be investigated using available data and field sampling.
In greenhouse experiments, effects of changes in climatic, edaphic and hydrological conditions on the eco-physiological performance, biomass production and fecundity of hybrids and their parental taxa will be analyzed. In these greenhouse experiments, the temperature-, light- and water regime will be altered. As extreme events often act as a bottleneck for the distribution of plants, both mean values and extremes will be altered. In close cooperation with the Climate Service Center Germany, climate envelope models will be used to analyze the current and predict the possible future distribution of hybrids and their parental taxa on the basis of common global change scenarios. A final task is to establish experimental hybrids in Spartina for the use in subsequent projects.