Using phylogeny and ecology to understand soil specialization
• With a recent phylogeny as a framework to integrate ecological observations and
experiments on competition and defense, we have learned:
– serpentine endemism has evolved 4-5 times in the group.
– at least some serpentine endemics use crypsis as a mechanism of defense.
– adaptations to bare environments might have served as pre-adaptataions
to life in serpentine environments.
Are soil specialists poor competitors?
The main paradigm to explain that some plants are restricted to harsh substrates is that they are poor competitors.
Using field and greenhouse assays we are testing this hypothesis. Manuscript is soon to be submitted, stay tuned!
Can plants hide?
Hiding as a mechanism of defense in plants
Visual defense mechanisms are often overlooked in plants. We have described crypsis as a mechanism of defense in two serpentine endemics and its importance in harsh, bare environments.