Biodiversity Research Seminar Series (BRS)
BRS Stacy A. Krueger-Hadfield: At the convergence of life cycles and reproductive systems: insights into the evolutionary ecology of sex
November 29, 2023, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
A recording of this lecture is not available.
host: Patrick Martone
Title: At the convergence of life cycles and reproductive systems: insights into the evolutionary ecology of sex
Sex is a crucial process that has molecular, genetic, cellular, organismal, and population-level consequences for eukaryotic evolutionary ecology. It is inextricably linked to the cycling of haploid and diploid stages and is responsible for generating spectacular life cycle diversity. Recent evolutionary models have established conditions under which sex will evolve, but still ignore the problem of why haploid and diploid stages are so diverse in form, function, and duration. A critical missing piece is establishing how selection in general, and ecology in particular, influence the evolution of life cycle diversity. Likewise, few quantitative studies of reproductive system variation exist outside diploid or diploid-dominant taxa, yet, the reproductive system not only controls, but is in turn controlled by standing genetic variability, thereby shaping evolutionary trajectories. Two major challenges exist for understanding the diversity of sex: (i) reconciling genetic (evolutionary) and ecological predictions of ploidy alternation in natural populations and (ii) quantitatively assessing the consequences of a prolonged haploid stage on reproductive systems. I will discuss our recent work, synergistically addressing these two challenges to develop a conceptual framework linking life cycle and reproductive system evolution and testing current hypotheses about the adaptive significance of the diversity of eukaryotic sex.