Physiological and climate niche consequences of genome duplication in angiosperms (Visiting Scholar)
Whole genome duplication, or polyploidy, has occurred throughout the evolutionary history of angiosperms, with elevated chromosome numbers observed in at least 70% of all species. Even though it is widespread, the general phenotypic and ecological consequences of polyploidy are not known. The increased cell size that follows genome duplication suggests that polyploids should be less tolerant of freezing and more tolerant of water stress than diploids. I propose to test these hypotheses by combining and analyzing existing databases that contain information on phylogeny, ploidy level, functional traits, and climate niches of angiosperms. This work will provide insight into whether there are general consequences of genome duplication, and help determine whether polyploidy influences the niche evolution and diversification of angiosperms.