Dr. Katrin Heer, Philipps University Marburg, Germany – 14 January 2020

The evolutionary ecology of forest trees – on track of gene flow and local adaptation


Global change confronts forest ecosystems with many challenges ranging from changing environmental conditions to habitat loss and fragmentation. Trees as the foundation species of our forest ecosystems might be particularly challenged due to their sessile style and long lifespans. The changes affect trees at different stages of their life cycle that include the sessile stages of pollen and seeds that are dispersed by diverse agents, as well as seed germination, seedling establishment and finally the adult trees. In my research, I investigate how trees are adapted to their natural environmental conditions and how they respond to changes thereof at different life stages. Particularly, I am interested in the genetic and epigenetic basis that underly their response that manifests at the phenotypic level. Further, I try to elucidate how the interaction with animal pollinators and seed dispersers affects the spatial distribution of genetic diversity in tree species. In my talk, I will present my past and ongoing research on diverse tree species in the temperate regions of Europe and South America and in the Neotropics.

 Photo by Daniela Liepelt

Nature of Life seminars

Date       :   14 January 2020

Time       :   15.45 hours

Location:   Room HG-11A33, Main building VU Amsterdam