EEB Thursday Seminar: Demographic and evolutionary consequences of new gene flow into small populations
Sarah Fitzpatrick, Asst. Professor, Kellogg Biological Station, Dept. of Integrative Biology, Michigan State University
Rapidly changing rates of gene flow pose urgent challenges for wild populations as well as exciting opportunities for ecological and evolutionary study. Predicting fitness effects of altered gene flow among contemporary populations is crucial because there is a large range of potential outcomes that can go so far as to determine the difference between extinction and persistence. I study wild and experimental populations of Trinidadian guppies as a model system for understanding the effects of new gene flow on adaptation, fitness, and demography. Previous work has documented genetic rescue, an increase in population growth caused by the introduction of new alleles, in wild populations. I will recap this work as well as discuss preliminary findings from experimental mesocosms that highlight the potential for gene flow to provide longterm benefits when populations are exposed to novel stress.
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