Shedding new light on Baker’s Law through synthesis (Visiting Scholar)
Baker’s Law (BL) states that self-compatible organisms are more likely to be successful colonizers after long-distance dispersal than self-incompatible organisms. This simple prediction draws a link between mating-system evolution and diverse fields of ecology and evolution such as dispersal biology and colonization, the evolution of range size and range limits, demography and Allee effect, and invasion biology. However, after ~60 years of experimental research and theory development, the accumulated data yield varying and often contradictory support of BL. During my sabbatical year, I will co-lead the first two BL working group (WG) meetings focused on assessment of the predictions and assumptions of BL and the elucidation of ecological and evolutionary parameters that determine the relationships between mating system, dispersal, and colonization success. As a sabbatical researcher at NESCent, I propose to focus on two goals: 1) Compilation and analysis of the voluminous literature on BL to assess the current status of BL. I will take the lead on preparing a BL review paper for the Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics. 2) Construction of a BL database that combines data gathered by two prior NESCent WGs (seed germination WG; mating system WG) with a third from an NCEAS WG on pollen limitation. Species data on dispersal, range size, and life-history traits will be added, creating a powerful platform for testing various questions on the relationship between mating-system and colonization success. Rapid database compilation with support of the NESCent community will accelerate our WG’s ability to generate valuable synthetic products.