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WN@tL: “Hunting the Origins of Plant Diversity in the Tibetan Plateau”
February 13, 2019 @ 7:00 pm - 8:15 pmFree
Speaker: Deren Eaton, Columbia University
Speaker Bio: Deren Eaton is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology at Columbia University. He is an evolutionary biologist and botanist with broad interests in plant biodiversity – from the scale of global patterns and community assembly, to speciation and genetic variation within species. Deren’s research is rooted in organismal biology and fieldwork, with projects focused in the Tibetan plateau and cloud forests of Central and South America. A common theme across his work is the development of new computational or statistical methods for analyzing comparative data, and the implementation and support for reproducible science. Deren completed a postdoc at Yale in 2017; earned his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2014; and his BSc from the University of Minnesota in 2007.
Description: The Hengduan Mountains of China on the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau is one of the most diverse plant communities in the world. Of the many types of plant that have evolved & diversified in this region, the genus Pedicularis stands out for its exceptional diversity of flower forms across more than 300 local species. A connection between floral diversity and species diversity has long been recognized within flowering plants, and the diversity of Pedicularis in the Hengduan Mountains provides an ideal system in which to investigate the role that interspecific reproductive interactions play in shaping this pattern. The Eaton lab combines genomic analyses with field-based experiments and community analyses to explore the roles that gene flow and reproductive interference play in shaping Pedicularis evolution.