Roslyn C. Henry (Aberdeen University, Scotland, UK) | June 21, 2016 | 12h00 | CIBIO-InBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão



Periods of climate change can alter the nature of biological processes within species’ ranges, thus the eco-evolutionary dynamics of range formation and expansion are important for understanding and predicting species distributions. However the accumulation of mildly deleterious mutations is an important process that has thus far been overlooked in both contexts. In spatially structured populations previous theory has shown that mildly deleterious mutations can accumulate rapidly, subsequently imposing a load on populations by reducing survivorship and/or fecundity. Using individual based models I've investigated the theoretical consequences of mutation load for range dynamics. For range formation the accumulation of deleterious mutations severely reduced the extent of a range across an environmental gradient, especially when dispersal was limited, growth rate was low and mutations were of intermediate deleterious effect. For range expansion the accumulation of mutation load substantially slowed the rate of colonisation however the evolution of dispersal mediated this effect to some extent. The results illustrate the important role deleterious mutations can play in range dynamics and as such highlight the incorporation of mutation load as a necessary focus for further work.


Roslyn C. Henry defended her Master Degree in 2012 in the Zoology Department, Aberdeen University, where she also developed her PhD study supervised by Prof. Justin Travis on the evolution of mutation load and dispersal in spatially structured populations. She received her PhD degree in Ecological Modeling in April 2016. Roslyn is joining CIBIO/InBIO (Plant Biology Group) to work on the genetic consequences of population expansion in managed landscapes under the supervision of Cristina García.


[Host: Cristina Garcia, Plant Biology]


Image credits: Roslyn C. Henry