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EEB Thursday Seminar: Eating and not dying: How herbivores deal with plant toxins

Denise Dearing, Distinguished Professor of Ecology & Evolution, Chair of Biology, University of Utah

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At every meal, animals that consume plants are faced with the prospect of being poisoned by naturally occurring toxins, i.e., plant secondary compounds, in plants. Little experimental work exists on the mechanisms that mammals employ to deal with plant toxins or how some species such as the koala or Stephen’s woodrat are capable of specializing on plants that contain high concentrations of toxins. To address this topic, we have been taking a “pharm-ecological” approach that integrates techniques and tools from various disciplines including ecology, behavior, genomics and biochemistry. We have discovered some of the surprising ways in which herbivores cope with toxic diets such as behavioral manipulation, symbioses with gut microbes, and liver enzymes with unexpected biochemical properties. I will highlight some recent results from my lab group in this presentation.
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When and Where

Map Chemistry Dow Lab - 1210

October 2017

4:00pm - 5:00pm

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