Environmental signals, phenotypic plasticity, and evolutionary change: insights from killifish and waterfleas
Matthew R. Walsh, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, University of Texas at Arlington
This seminar will address several broad questions about the connection between phenotypic plasticity and evolutionary processes. This will include experimental studies that evaluated the factors that determine the expression and evolution of phenotypic responses that persist for multiple generations (i.e., transgenerational plasticity) in waterfleas. Second, I will describe resurrection experiments that my lab and I performed in lakes in Wisconsin, USA where we hatched decades old resting eggs to test the connection between phenotypic plasticity and adaptation (i.e., does plasticity facilitate or constrain evolution?). Finally, I will detail a series of studies that explored the evolution of neurosensory systems (i.e., brain size, brain neurogenesis) that determine behavioral plasticity in populations of killifish. This will include translocation experiments performed in natural streams that test the adaptive significance of variation in vertebrate brain components.