Life Science Hour Seminar Series

Name:Monica Geber
Title:Ecology and evolution of species' geographic ranges
Date:Friday, 31 March 2017
Location:Murie Life Science Bldg, Murie Auditorium.


Ecological (proximate) and evolutionary (ultimate) processes result in limits to species’ geographic distributions and account for the fact that no species is found everywhere. Understanding these processes gets at fundamental questions concerning the distribution and abundance of species and addresses practical concerns about the response of species to environmental change. I will review the ecological and evolutionary processes that limit species distributions and present evidence of these processes in the California native annual, Clarkia xantiana (Onagraceae). I will present evidence of geographic variation in the abiotic and biotic environments that are reflected in variation in population demography. I will discuss potential evolutionary limits on range expansion, including genetic variation in quantitative traits and at the molecular level, patterns of local adaptation and gene flow across the geographic range.

About the Speaker:

Monica Geber received her BA in Mathematics at Reed College in 1979, her MSc in Ecology and Evolution at Oregon State University in 1982, and her PhD in Ecology and Evolution at the University of Utah in 1989. After a short postdoc at Indiana University, she joined the faculty in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University in 1990.

Geber is a plant population and evolutionary biologist who has worked on life history evolution, whole plant development and population demography in plants. Her work in the last decade has focused on the ecology and evolution of species geographic range limits, using the California native annual, Clarkia xantiana (Onagraceae) as a model. Her work examines geographic variation in population demography and levels of local adaptation. Geber has also worked on plant-pollinator interactions at the species and community level, and published on mating system evolution in plants. She has also worked on theory related to eco-evolutionary dynamics.

Geber has served on the editorial boards of the American Naturalist, Evolution, and was the vice president of the Society for American Naturalist in 2010. She was elected a Fellow of the Ecological Society of American in 2017.

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