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February 5, 2020

2212 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4

host: Jennifer Williams, cookies Sarah S-T and Megan S

Abstract: Dispersal influences individual fitness, population persistence, and biodiversity across scales, as well as a population’s ability to track shifting habitats, deal with large-scale environmental variability, and adapt to novel environments in response to global change. Global change, including climate change, habitat fragmentation, and overharvesting, affects the ecology and evolution of dispersal, in turn altering the ability of species to move or adapt to global change events. For sessile organisms such as plants, dispersal of propagules – defined as the movement away from the parent location – may be the sole opportunity to escape changes in local environmental conditions. Yet, the role of seed dispersal in the long-term spatial dynamics of plant populations remains poorly understood. The complexity and context-dependence of seed dispersal ecology challenges our ability to generalize across different systems and predict responses of plant diversity to global change. To move towards the predictive understanding necessary to inform conservation strategies requires a systematic examination of dispersal mechanisms and their influence on populations. I will discuss current research and strategies to better understand how global change will impact seed dispersal processes, and potential cascading effects on plant populations.

Biodiversity Research Seminar Series (BRS)

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